A study commissioned by Caribbean sugar producers has recommended a region-wide approach to producing white sugar and urged the enforcement of a tax on most sweeteners imported into the region even as domestic producers highlight extensive tax evasion by importers.

The report by the United Kingdom-headquartered LMC International has underscored the challenges faced by producers in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries who struggle to compete with the cheap sugar sourced extra-regionally.     

As producers push for the application of the Common External Tariff (CET) that should be charged on sugar imported into the region, they have also highlighted that importers utilise various methods to evade the CET and benefit, too, from waivers to the detriment of regional producers.

The issue of applying the 40 per cent CET on refined sugar entering CARICOM has been under the spotlight of late, with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) calling for the enforcement of the tariff. GuySuCo is seeking to produce plantation white sugar to boost its struggling fortunes and it recently said that it and other sugar producers’ groups representing sugar producing countries in the region had discussed applying the 40 per cent CET now only applied for non-regional brown sugar entering the regional market, to all sugars, including white sugars…..