Trade director sides with Dominica soap manufacturers in trade dispute with JamaicaTuesday, June 15, 2021
ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — A senior public official Tuesday expressed support for the soap manufacturer, Dominica Coconut Products Successors Limited (DCPS) in its long-running battle with some Jamaican state agencies as well as manufacturers and exporters of soap.
The matter is now before the courts and Trade Director, Matthan Walter said Dominica is supporting DCPS in its legal battle with the Jamaican enterprises.
Walter said that the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) had ruled that Jamaican soap manufacturers are in breach of the Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.
“The COTED decided at that meeting in November the soap from Jamaica could not qualify and that the soap chips that were coming into Jamaica from those foreign countries would have to be levied with a 40 per cent duty when they are entering Jamaica.
“But more than just that, if Jamaica wants to export any … soap to any other Caricom country it would have to pay the duty because the product would not be considered as being manufactured in Caricom,” Walter said.
He said despite that situation, the Jamaicans have continued “to breach the treaty when they knew what the decision of the COTED was and even when they knew that 11 out of the 15 Caricom member states, the 11 out of the 14 that could vote….supported Dominica's submission to the COTED”.
Walter said he hopes that the local soap manufacturer will prevail for playing by the rules over several years.
“Presently DCP Successors Limited has taken certain Jamaican authorities to court and they are really trying to move the government bodies to act in accordance and in compliance with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and with the decision of the Council for Trade and Economic Development, which is the highest decision making body as it relates to trade and economic development matters.
“So that is where we are, but this is just to give a synopsis on the work that the Ministry of Trade from a practical point of view has been doing with SUCP Successors Limited, but more than that the work that we are willing to do with any producer on Dominica's municipal plane,” Walter told the state-owned DBS radio.
In a suit filed in the Supreme Court in Kingston on June 8 by Jamaican law firm Hylton Powell, DCPS named the trade administrator, the Trade Board, the commissioner of Customs, Jamaica Customs Agency, and listed company Blue Power Group Limited as respondents in a matter involving the export of Jamaican-made soaps to Caricom markets and the importation of raw materials for soap-making.
The lawsuit prompted the Jamaican authorities last week to immediately suspend the issuing of certificates of origin certifying soaps produced in Jamaica as being of community origin and therefore eligible to benefit from duty-free export to Caricom markets.
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