JMA knocks govt’s ‘monopolistic ‘sugar import policy

Sugar-1Kingston, Jamaica — The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) is knocking Government’s announcement that the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) is to be the sole importer of refined sugar, without making consultations with stakeholders, the Sugar Advisory Committee of the Trade Board.

The association says it is now concerned about the approximately 100 manufacturers registered as refined sugar users that will be affected by the government’s decision.

“Given the significant improvement in collaboration between the Government and the Private Sector, the JMA is disappointed that such a major decision was made without any consultation with the sector,” the association stated in a release.

JMA argued that “The imposition of a monopolistic regime, in an open global economy, will impede the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, and will lead to higher pricing, quality inconsistency and an unreliable supply. Additionally, some manufacturers have to conform to certain specifications, due to franchising agreements.”

“We also believe that a monopolistic importation policy violates our international trade agreements, as reflected in our membership with the World Trade Organization (WTO), and by extension Jamaican law. Such unilateral and unpredictable actions will also act as a disincentive for both local and foreign investment in this large economic sub-sector.”

The association charged that government’s decision will a negative effect on consumers and added that the monopoly importation process was eliminated years ago for that reason.

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