Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2016 Contents cultivating crops," Pires said.
Dave Seebaransingh, manager of Massy Dis-
tribution, said importers are asked to fill out
a duty-free application by the Ministry of
Agriculture at the beginning of the year, which
outlines the products they would import and
the quantities involved.
"They (ministry) grant you duty free con-
cessions. We had our duty free concession
letter...we had everything, but yet still we had
to pay the 20 per cent duty on a shipment
we brought in recently."
Seebaransingh said the shipment that came
in late last month was "unsellable for the price
we had to pay the duty on. I am in a quandary.
The duties charged came as a shock to me.
This was the last thing we were expecting."
He said agricultural shops which are his
main customers would not buy the product
because of the cost that is now attached.
"It would be difficult to sell this to the farm-
ers. In fact, I am stuck with the product on
my hands. Soon, I would have to cut my losses
and sell it at the cost price because there is
an expiry date on the herbicide," Seebaransingh
Only recently, it was brought to the
importers attention that Customs and Excise
Division now carry a new tariff which states
that importers would have to pay a 20 per
cent duty if their packages are under six kilo-
"Customs and Excise is telling us that our
imported packages must be over six kilo-
grammes upon presentation of sale if we are
to be exempted from duties. This just does
not make sense. We are accustomed buying
in small packages or containers abroad to meet
the demands of our farmers," Pires explained.
Seebaransingh said T&T s farming com-
munity by nature, purchase in small amounts
because of the parcels of land they cultivate.
"Most of the farmers cultivate on one or
two acre plots. Our products are sold in 250
ml, 500 ml or one litre sizes. A litre does not
weigh anything close to six kilogrammes. It
is far less," Seebaransingh said.
If this problem is not resolved, Seebaransingh
the consumer will have to pay a higher price
for produce in the coming weeks.
Seebaransingh said while they have had to
pay the duty, there are unscrupulous importers
who bring in poor quality herbicides/weed-
icides, but get away from paying duties.
Minister Rambharat did not respond to a
In the coming weeks, consumers would have
to pay more for locally grown food as chemical
importers are now forced to pay duties on her-
The move has come like a thief in the night, leaving
importers in a quandary and furious.
At least two of the country s largest chemical
importers---Caribbean Chemicals and Massy Distribution
Agri and Industrial Chemicals---have confirmed they
have had to pay Customs and Excise Division 20 per
cent duty on their overall bill.
This is in total contradiction to what was outlined
in last October s budget presentation, delivered by
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who stated the Gov-
ernment would exempt from all duties and taxes imports
into the agricultural sector, including approved chemicals,
pest control, approved vehicles, approved fishing vessels
and equipment, which took effect on January 1.
Managing director of Caribbean Chemicals Joe Pires
said in an interview that he was so upset by the duties
charged that he wrote Minister of Agriculture, Land
and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat on June 7, calling
for his immediate intervention into the matter.
Pires said he pleaded with Rambharat to release the
duties on a freight container filled with herbicides,
which is due to arrive in the country soon.
The cost of the herbicide was estimated at $275,000
of which Pires had to pay $55,000 or 20 per cent duty
last week. Some of the herbicides that are imported
are Gramoxone/Paraquat, Round-Up, Velpar, Tordon
"We had to pay the hefty duty to clear the shipment.
Every week we have shipments coming in. This will no
doubt affect our business," Pires said.
In the 50 years Caribbean Chemicals has been import-
ing, Pires said they have never paid duties.
"If we are to begin paying duties on these basic items
that the farmers require, it will then force us to pass
this cost onto them (farmers) in an already challenging
environment. Obviously, the farmers will have no choice
but to pass on this cost to the consumer. It will create
a chain reaction and increase the cost of locally grown
food. Consumers will have to pay more for produce.
That is the bottom line," said Pires.
Pires said for the Government to now charge duties
will be counter productive.
"If we are on a mission to reduce the country s $5
billion food import bill we are spinning top in mud
with these duties. It would also dissuade farmers from
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 13, 2016
NOTICE OF PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE
OPERATIONS OF DRONES
The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) has drafted Regulations to govern the
operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) commonly referred to as "drones". Before submit-
ting the Regulations for the approval of the Cabinet and Parliament, the TTCAA invites interested
members of the public to consultation meetings on the Draft Regulations.
Two consultations meetings will be held on Thursday 16th June 2016 and on Tuesday 21st June 2016
at the TTCAA Aviation Complex, Caroni North Bank Road, Piarco commencing at 5:00 pm.
The Draft Regulations are available on the TTCAA website:
25% off all
Students of the Arima North Secondary School are seen on the Brian Lara
Promenade, Port-of-Spain during a flash mob on Saturday. The purpose of the
demonstration on the promenade was to advertise its 2016 model search which
takes place on July 2 at Arima Conference and Banquet Facility, Sorzano Street,
Arima. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
More duty on herbicides...
Consumers to pay
more for local food
Links Archive June 12th 2016 June 14th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page