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Jamaica is pointing an accusing finger at Barbados and St. Lucia for repeatedly blocking efforts by Kingston to remove the Common External Tariff (CET) imposed on solar water heaters imported from outside the region.
According to the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell said the government wants a change to the situation particular as it is urging Jamaicans to cut their carbon footprint by offsetting the use of gas with solar systems.
The duty on the water heaters imported from outside the region is now 20 per cent, up from five per cent last year, resulting in a price increase.
Paulwell reportedly said that under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), Jamaica has to apply the duty to solar water heaters from non-member countries as a member country can supply these items.
“Jamaica has consistently taken applications to COTED (Council of Trade and Economic Development) for the removal of CET on solar water heaters, and every time we submit for that, it is blocked by both Barbados and St Luca, which are claiming that they have producers in the region that supply solar water heaters,” Paulwell said.
According to reports, the minister said he will not give up and is in the process of applying once more for the tariff to be removed, having compiled data to show that Barbados and St Lucia cannot supply the Jamaican market.
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