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SVG, Antigua flour war still unresolved

SVG, Antigua flour war still unresolved

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While St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other OECS member countries prepare for their inclusion into the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) by March 31 this year, there still seems to be a rift between this country and Antigua over the issue of flour importation.

This unresolved issue is among a list of topics carded for discussion when the Caricom Heads meet at the next Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads of Government in Port-of-Spain early next month. {{more}}

This country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is making no apology in showing its displeasure over Antigua and Barbuda’s breach of regional trade laws by importing flour from outside the OECS.

Under the treaty, Antigua is expected to give priority to flour produced in OECS member countries. However, Antigua is seeking to import flour from outside the Eastern Caribbean, in particular Trinidad and Tobago, Trade Officer Clarence Harry explained to SEARCHLIGHT.

In May last year Antigua’s Prime Minister, Baldwin Spencer formally informed his OECS counterparts that his country remains committed to the articles and principles enshrined in the Chaguaramas Treaty, and once again promised to investigate the claim of unfair trade practices.

Almost a year later, the matter still remains unresolved leaving this country’s officials displeased over the issue.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines based Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) controls approximately 65 per cent of the Antigua and Barbuda flour market and stands to lose approximately one quarter of its traditional flour exports within the OECS sub-region from Antigua and Barbuda’s purchase of the commodity from Trinidad and Tobago.

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