Thursday, May 13, 2010



The week of May 12th, 2010, saw BUSINESS PERPESTIVES TV program, re-run an old program based on the EPA, or trade agreement with the European Union.

I learned some new things from the program this week.

1) First of all, I thought the EPA was almost exclusively to do with bananas and in that I was interested to find out, I was wrong.

2) It was interesting to note, that government bureaucrats on the program BUSINESS PERSPECTIVES were saying that Belize can sell anything they produce to Europe free of QUOTAS and FREE OF customs duties. Just like any other EU country. The fly in the ointment is; we opened our markets to EU products on a duty free basis, when our government needs any customs duties to increase government revenues. The other part is that Belize literally produces nothing of anything to export to Europe, other than bananas and sometimes raw sugar and molasses. We have no factories or manufacturing plants. This is an agrarian country. The EPA was a one sided deal in the favor of the EUROPEAN UNION, to open our market for their manufactured and food processed goods. Our country is too small and should we produce something like RUM, JAMS, JUICES, the one container load we are likely to be able to ship from our small population, would not even supply one single department store in the very smallest European Union country.

3) I did get some ideas though and the BIG TROUBLE is our FOREIGN AFFAIRS department bureaucrats and TRADE department individuals, while complaining on the program, that the PRIVATE SECTOR are not taking advantage of the EPA, have not fully explained, or disseminated ideas of trade with the EU; that entrepreneurs could take advantage of. In fact, the bureaucrats on the TV SHOW were adamant that their role is only to negotiate foreign trade deals like the EPA with Europe, but not to do any nitty gritty scut work in developing processes and ideas for the private sector.. What I would ask them is some specifics. Like; is there a market for packaged sugar cubes for HOTELS under a Belize BRAND? Can we import in BULK from nearby countries like Colombia, Guatemala and so forth, some product like different coffees and then ship them and sell them in EUROPE under Belize Packaging and BRAND names? There are lots of similar questions entrepreneurs could ask the Foreign Affairs and Trade people in Belmopan, but they did not seem to have any answers. Plus they are impossible to get a hold of.

4) Why not contact the Foreign Affairs bureaucrats for information in Belmopan? It is impossible. The telephone system in Belmopan does not work. You can NEVER telephone anybody in a government office in Belmopan our capital. Why not drive there and waste a day going to see these same bureaucrats. It doesn’t work! Been there, done that! They lie like hell in the Belmopan bureaucratic offices and secretaries constantly tell visitors that some big wig is in a meeting. Or same big wig is out of the country. The net result is nobody in Belmopan want to work is the impression anybody seeking assistance from the Belize government bureaucrats get. I’ve even caught them in their lies and found supposedly people in meetings, or supposedly out of the country, were in fact jollying and chatting with friends in other offices. The whole concept of work in Belmopan is a charade. This man for one, is not going to waste his time going to Belmopan, or telephoning offices in that central government.

5) There has to be a way for FOREIGN AFFAIRS and TRADE departments to have public seminars on doing business with the EU using this EPA, and coming up with ideas on how we might as entrepreneurial Belizeans go into the bulk importing and repackaging brand name business. There should be debates on the costs of importing and re-exporting, that one has to go through as well. The red tape bureaucratic costs of the Belize government is very high, making many business ideas impractical.

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