Executive director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), Bobbi McKay, is calling on Government to immediately return the tariff
on semi-processed imported
chicken to 184 per cent. In an interview with Barbados
TODAY, McKay said raising the tariff would give local producers “a level playing field” and protect the industry from operating at a loss.
This concern was also raised recently by president of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA), Andrew Gill.
Following mounting complaints earlier this year from some fast-food chains and supermarket operators about the high tariffs on certain semi-processed imported meat products, Government lowered the tariffs from 184 per cent
to 20 per cent. Some operators complained that none
of the pre-cooked poultry were available locally so they had to import them.
However, MacKay told Barbados TODAY there were local producers here who had the capacity to provide what was needed.
“We have everything. There are some cases where people say the slices are not thick enough or it is too thin. You have to just let the manufacturer know what the requirements are so they can meet the specifications,” said McKay.
Moving the tariffs back to 184 per cent will ensure a level playing field. We want it put back. The tariff is there to make sure we have a level playing field,” added McKay.
She said many Barbadians had a “dollar store mentality” where they wanted cheap items and were not concerned about the conditions under which they were produced.
She said some countries had a tariff of over 200 per cent in an attempt to protect their local industries, adding that Barbados should protect its poultry industry.
McKay also called on Barbadians to start thinking about buying quality products, saying that items from some countries were being produced under less than
favourable conditions. We compete with products from countries where
workers don’t even have bathrooms or toilet paper or coffee breaks. So when I call for a level playing field I want to compare apples and apples. I want to say this product comes from country X and they have comparable facilities to what we offer our employees. The average Barbadian don’t think about that,” she said.
We have to start questioning why are products coming in so cheap and where are they coming from. In some cases, say poultry, are there steroids in them? With garments, are children making them? Start to question where the products are coming from and who are making them,” urged McKay.