SAN JUAN – The Agriculture Ministry and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association are discussing the imposition of a tax on imported refined sugar to protect the local industry.
The aim of the tax would be to address the loss of revenue due to the leakage of imported duty-free sugar, intended for manufacturing, into the retail trade, the government said Friday in a statement.
Proceeds from the levy would be used for investment in infrastructure to make Jamaica’s sugar industry more competitive, Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier said.
“Critical areas of investment will include the installation of irrigation systems, research in new varieties and co-products, the expansion of services and the rehabilitation of cane roads,” he said.
Kellier said future plans for the sugar industry should include an increase in payments to growers and a shift to focus more on the Caribbean Community sugar market, which consumes some 300,000 tons of refined sugar annually.