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Samuda calls for new approach to T&T oil pricing and subsidies

Ministry Of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fish | 2016-04-28 00:00:00

- Stresses Need for Dignity in Treatment of Jamaican Nationals

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has signalled Jamaica’s dissatisfaction with the current oil pricing systems being used by Trinidad & Tobago (T&T).

The Minister did so while in Georgetown, Guyana attending the 42nd Regular Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the 61st Special COTED Meeting of Trade and Energy Ministers, 21st to 22nd April 2016.

During the 42nd COTED meeting, Minister Samuda had a bilateral meeting with his Trinidadian counterpart, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, and expressed dissatisfaction with the system under which Trinidad & Tobago charges a premium for oil sold to its CARICOM partners. This is just under the applicable 10% Common External Tariff (CET). 

Minister Samuda, therefore, placed Trinidad and Tobago on notice that Jamaica will be engaging in pricing negotiations, going forward. 

The two Ministers discussed a range of issues, including the question of T&T’s continued use of subsidies. It was confirmed by the Trinidadian Trade and Industry Minister that fuel-based subsidies have already been removed entirely from super and premium gasoline, and there has also been a 15% reduction in the subsidy on diesel oil, with the T&T Government moving towards further phased reductions on diesel. 

At the 61st COTED Meeting on Trade and Energy, Jamaica indicated the need for a longer notification period from T&T, whenever that country is faced with supply challenges that prevent the delivery of well-needed oil supplies to CARICOM States.

On the issue of the treatment of Jamaican nationals seeking entry into Trinidad and Tobago, in the bilateral meeting, Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon reaffirmed her Government’s commitment to treating all CARICOM citizens with dignity. The T&T Trade and Industry Minister gave assurances that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago would be giving serious consideration to the matter at the Cabinet level. This recent, highly publicised matter has been the subject of high-level investigations by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally, Minister Gopee-Scoon gave credit to Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson-Smith, for her proactive engagement with her counterpart T&T Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Senator Dennis Moses. She also noted that both Ministers have been in almost daily communication in order to ensure a mutually satisfactory resolution to the issue.

The Item, the treatment of CARICOM Nationals travelling in the Region, was placed on the agenda of the 42nd COTED meeting at the request of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The item has been on the agenda of previous COTED meetings.

Minister Samuda, during this gathering of regional trade ministers, emphasized that all nationals had the right to be treated with dignity, befitting citizens of a common community. This Item had received support from a number of other CARICOM Member States.

Minister Gopee-Scoon indicated to her fellow CARICOM trade ministers that Trinidad and Tobago recognized the sensitivity and importance of the issue. She said efforts were being undertaken to ensure fair treatment of CARICOM nationals.

Posted By :Ministry Fisheries

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