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The national flag of St Lucia (File photo)

St Lucia to impose tariffs on imports from CARICOM MDCs

The national flag of St Lucia (File photo)

The Government of St Lucia has instituted Article 164 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which allows for Less Developed Countries (LDCs) in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to impose tariffs on More Developed Countries (MDCs).

“The Ministry of Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs wishes to advise members of the general public of the impending implementation of a CARICOM wide initiative to enable the growth and development of the Less Developed Countries of CARICOM,” a release from the Government of St Lucia stated.

The Cargo Port in Castries, St Lucia (Photo: Caribbean Press Releases)

“This regional initiative which Saint Lucia is seeking to implement, effective January 1st, 2020, is Article 164 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) which establishes the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME),” it continued.

Introduced at the 21st Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development in 2006, Article 164 stipulates that an LDC may, as it deems necessary, temporarily suspend community origin treatment of a specified list of goods imported from the MDCs of CARICOM and from third countries.

CARICOM LDCs are members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and Belize. On the other hand, MDCs include Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Considering The Bahamas is not a signatory to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas or a member of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, St Lucia may, therefore, treat imports from that nation as from a third country.

A view of the Caribbean Community Secretariat in Guyana.

“It should be noted, however, that goods of community origin sourced from the LDCs [will] continue to attract a duty of zero per cent,” the St Lucian Government said.

Contained in Chapter VII of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, Article 164 allows LDCs to benefit from a concession of differential treatment. The regional policy stipulates special arrangements in terms of tariff reductions, revenue, and internal taxation in the consideration of special needs of LDCs in rules of origin, common external tariff and fiscal incentives, as well as in the application of temporary measures to protect domestic industries.