(PRESS RELEASE) – On January 1st 2020, Saint Lucia implemented the Article 164 Regime which is a CARICOM-wide initiative aimed at promoting industrial development in the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) of CARICOM.
The regime seeks to achieve its objectives through the provision of tariff protection and other support measures which enhances the competitiveness of LDC manufacturers in the production of a specified list of goods.
The Article 164 regime covers 15 product groups across 36 tariff lines and provides tariff protection to products on that list for a specified period of time. More specifically, the regime will be in effect for a period of five (5) years for two products namely curry powder and pasta and ten (10) years for the remaining products which include flour, aerated waters; malt; beer; stout; animal feed, oxygen and carbon dioxide; acetylene; candles of paraffin wax; solar water heaters for domestic use; paint and varnishes (including enamels and lacquers).
The objective of the regime is to increase the participation of LDCs in intra-regional trade in particular their levels of exports to the region and thereby increase the level of equity in the distribution of the benefits from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
As a result of the implementation of the Article 164 regime the prices of goods on the list sourced from the More Developed Countries (MDCs) of CARICOM and from countries outside of CARICOM are expected to increase due to the application of rates of duty on imports originating from these sources.
However, for each product on the list, consumers and importers are reminded that they have the option of purchasing or sourcing from a local supplier or from another Less Developed Country (LDC) in which case prices are expected to remain unaffected. This is because products from LDCs continue to (enjoy Community origin treatment and) attract no Customs Duties.
As part of its efforts to ensure that only the intended outcomes of the regime are realised, the Ministry through its Consumer Affairs Division will continue to monitor price changes of the products covered under the regime. In addition, the Ministry has agreed to establish a Committee/Task Force in collaboration with the private sector to further examine all products classified under the tariff lines in the regime with a view to ensuring that only products that are meant to be affected by the regime are impacted.
The Ministry wishes to reiterate its commitment to improving Saint Lucia’s productive capacity in order to increase its level of intra-regional trade in goods and is therefore committed to providing support to the manufacturing sector towards the achievement of this goal. The development of the manufacturing sector is critical to ensuring that we have a more diversified and resilient economy and another important source of foreign currency.
The full list of Article 164 products and corresponding tariff rates have been published in the Saint Lucia Government Gazette via Statutory Instrument number 171 and 172 of 2019.