Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss is sending a strong message to those who engage in predatory pricing that the days of “dumping of goods in Barbados” will soon be over.
Inniss today warned that his ministry had begun an investigation into allegations of predatory pricing here.
And while he declined to elaborate when pressed by Barbados TODAY, the minister warned that the practice stood to significantly damage the local manufacturing sector if not addressed.
“We cannot realistically expect our local manufacturers to make significant investments in plant and equipment and then turn a blind eye when there may be others who may be dumping in our midst, helping to drive the cost down,” he told the official opening of the 2018 Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“That is why my ministry has embarked on thorough investigations into allegations of dumping of competitive products here in Barbados that undermines our manufacturing sector wherever possible,” Inniss added.
His comments came against the backdrop of allegations made on Tuesday night by Barbados Labour Party leader Mia Mottley that cement giant Trinidad Cement Limited and its Barbados-based subsidiary Arawak Cement Limited had filed legal action against the Government of Barbados, accusing it of contravening the rules governing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy by granting the Mark Maloney-led Rock Hard Cement a reduction in the Common External Tariff, from 60 per cent to five per cent.
Since the entry of Rock Hard Cement into the local market in November 2015, Maloney has taken credit for driving down the price of cement by at least 30 per cent.
Today’s opening of BMEX also heard from President of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) Robert Noel, who said whoever forms the next Government after next week’s general election must treat the manufacturing sector with the same level of importance as that given to the tourism and the financial services sector.
“I implore whichever party forms the next Government to give greater consideration to the needs of the local manufacturing sector, to provide it with the support it needs to grow and to see its importance in the same way which it sees tourism and financial services sectors,” Noel said.
“Our manufacturing sector creates jobs for countless Barbadians and utilizes local resources wherever possible to add value to the products created. The sector also brings in critical foreign exchange, which we are so desperately in need of,” he explained.
Inniss said he was aware that the sector continued to face a number of challenges and was therefore in need of a new vision, while he expressed the wish that the sector would contribute in excess of $600 million annually to the economy through exports.
The manufacturing sector is estimated to contribute approximately four per cent of the island gross domestic product, just over $40 million annually.
“This reality speaks to the need and responsibility of the Government, private sector entities and business support organizations like the BMA to continue to work in unison to deepen, strengthen and re-double our efforts towards repositioning the manufacturing sector on the most elevated path of prominence and prosperity, to the benefit of all Barbadians,” Inniss said.