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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Caribbean: Brexit Will Not Hurt Us, Says Sugar Stakeholders

Despite earning most of its income from a supply deal with British-based refiner Tate and Lyle, leading players in the local sugar industry say Britain's decision to leave the European Union (EU) will not have a negative impact on the sector. "I don't see that result affecting us in any way, our relationship was with individual companies, not the (British) government and fortunately, our contract with Tate and Lyle is not designated in pounds." said Ambassador Derrick Heaven, who is a former high commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK). "It will be interesting to see what impact the devaluation of the pound will have on companies operating in Britain, but I don't see where their leaving the European Union will be affecting us" He added: "What we do hope and Know is that that agreement with Cariforum will remain, it is very important for the region." Historically Jamaica's sugar was exported to Britain under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement (CSA) that guaranteed preferential access and price, but this was transferred to the EU and has eventually been replaced by the EU/CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which preserved duty-free access to Europe but without a guaranteed price. "I am not overly concerned about the access we have to the UK market, we simply don't have any anxiety right now," said Karl James, general manager of Jamaica Cane Product Sales (JCPS). "England continues to be a major sugar refiner in Europe. However, we stopped selling in pounds a long time ago... . We negotiated in US dollars for over five years now and our relationship remains healthy," added James, who has responsibility for marketing the bulk of Jamaica's sugar exports to the EU. At the end of the 2014-2015 season, JCPS and Tate and Lyle penned a one-year supply arrangement for 48,000 tonnes of sugar with the option for an additional 16,000 tonnes for the current crop year.

Source: The Gleaner