Monday, September 8, 2008



There were more questions left unanswered by the Foreign Affairs Conference held down in Belize City last week on the European Union EPA contract.

What was missing by the experts was the presence of Empirical data, comparative studies, profit and loss comparisons versus preferential tariffs. No statistics, prices, profits and losses, alternative choices, data, or other scientific method of marketing studies.
Some questions come to mind:

1) The only FACT given was the exports of banana and sugar are worth $132 million to the economy.

2) It was stated as FACT that we would lose our market for sugar and bananas if we do not sign the EPA. This sounds like pure scare tactics and nonsense of a bureaucracy that have not done their homework. Far as I can see, the ONLY thing we can lose is the preferential tariff? The market would still be there for our commodities unless they know something they haven't told us?

3) No attempt was made to quantify the amount between preferential and non-preferential sales prices. What would that be?

4) Look for the motivation behind this stampede to sign an obviously bad contract. Who profits? Far as I have been told, UK investors own the majority of profits for both sugar and bananas. So if THEY lost their preferential tariff profits, how much would THEY in the UK lose? $5 million, $10 million? How much from their profit and loss statement or balance sheet?

5) What is world price and the differential if we do not get a preferential tariff?

6) Would we really lose the EU market? Explain why and how? What is the basis for this conclusion?

7) How much will our government lose in dollars for duty free EU imported goods?

8) If the WTO insists and ALL other countries demand the same customs treatment, we could lose ALL our customs duties for every other country in the world, according to WTO RULES we have been told. How much from customs duties goes to pay for our $476 million government cost? What would the amount of lost revenues be to our government? More or less than losses on the existing preferential tariff as a part of $132 million in our exports to the EU?

9) Explain what options and alternatives for these two crops our BELTRAIDE and Foreign Affairs department have sought and possibly found for sugar and bananas out of Belize? Who did the marketing studies and can we hear about them?

10) Why should our government and people accept a bad contract to protect UK investors profit margins?

11) Why would our foreign affairs department go to the trouble of disinformation with scare tactics on wages for Ecuadorian banana producers? Stating they got paid $2 a day? Last I read, a grower sub contractor got $2000 USA per acre of bananas, gross, before deductions for fertilizers and spraying. Did anybody in Foreign Affairs actually do the research on this EPA? Doesn't really seem like it.

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