Oct 19, 2016 News
A quarrel over the importation of Jamaican poultry feed is not likely to see any immediate restrictions by Guyana.
This is because Jamaican authorities are insisting that the feed meets requirements that say it is produced in the region and therefore entitled to duty free waivers under CARICOM regulations.
Local producers have been complaining that the Jamaican feed, marketed under the brand, Nutramix, is being produced largely with materials not produced in the region and therefore not entitled to any waivers.
Recently, the Guyana Poultry Producers Association questioned a decision by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to not charge duty on the Jamaican feed.
The association believed that there was fraud involved and called for an investigation.
In a statement this week to Kaieteur News, GRA explained that in February this year, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) requested the GRA to impose import duties (CARICOM External Tariff) on a consignment of poultry feed imported by businessman Deonarine Arjune from Newport Mills of Jamaica, pending verification of the certificate of origin.
GRA said it held 16 containers as a result of the ministry’s request and notified Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) since they are the competent authority for foreign trade.
MOA was also notified to provide GRA with the evidence that the commodities were not compliant with the rules of origin.
“The Certificate of Origin indicated that the extra-regional content of the product was 2%. According to the CET, the finished product must be produced from materials of 23.09, the value of which does not exceed 5 percent of the export price of the finished product.”
On February 25, 2016, the Poultry Dealers Association, through the MOA, pleaded to GRA for the release of the sixteen containers, which was facilitated.
“This was in consideration of the fact that they did not provide any evidence of impropriety as a basis for continued detention of the commodity. MOA was notified of the release and invited to provide any evidence in their possession of any contravention of the rules of origin in relation to the feed. No such evidence was forthcoming,” GRA said.
On April 08, 2016, MOA again requested that GRA hold a shipment of ‘10 containers of poultry feed to the same consignee and impose import duties.
“They made reference to the same grounds as outlined for the February shipment, and again no supporting evidence was tendered.”
GRA said that a Jamaican delegation visiting for the 42nd COTED requested a bilateral meeting to address the issue, rather than place it on the general agenda. The meeting was facilitated by the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, on April 22, 2016.
It was agreed at that meeting that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas allows for a request of the verification of origin and for the consignee to deposit the import duties in the interim.
The containers were released after the consignee deposited the import duties. The request for verification of origin was sent to the competent authority in Jamaica by GRA.
Both the MOA and MOFA were notified accordingly.
According to GRA, subsequent shipments were also required to pay the deposits as a condition for release, pending the response of the Jamaican authority on the qualifying status of the poultry feed.
“The competent authority in Jamaica submitted their findings in July stating that the product is compliant for regional treatment as the allowable component is 4.69%, and therefore within the limit of the permitted 5%.”
GRA disclosed that the Jamaican authorities, through contact with Caricom and MOFA, requested a response on the acceptance of their findings in the verification process. The status of the matter was communicated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Jamaica then approached CARICOM for immediate intervention with the GRA to confirm that the product meets the rules of origin and can now enter Guyana duty free.
According to GRA, Guyana was in no position to refute the findings of the Jamaicans.
As a matter of fact, GRA said there is no need for the Jamaicans to demonstrate the origin of the inputs once the criteria in the list is satisfied.
“The conditions also infer that materials can be used from any other tariff heading in any proportion or value, regardless of origin or percentage of the value of the export price of the finished product. In essence, one is only allowed a maximum of 5% value of poultry feed as raw materials of the export price of the finished product.”
According to GRA, there are a few options that Guyana can explore in which the local feed producers can claim “serious injury or the threat of serious injury to domestic producers of like or directly competitive products in any industry or specific sector of any industry.”
This means has to be actioned through MOFA, and supporting evidence must be tendered in accordance with the provisions of the treaty that governs trade in CARICOM, GRA advised.
The recent complaint on behalf of the Guyana Poultry Producers Association was launched by its members, Robert Badal and President, Patrick De Groot.
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