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New trade dispute brewing with Jamaica

Saturday, March 3, 2018

KINGSTON—Jamaican manufacturers say they intend to approach the island’s Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission after accusing their T&T counterparts of dumping flour onto the local market.

Dumping is a kind of predatory pricing, especially in the context of international trade. It occurs when manufacturers export a product to another country at a price below the normal price.

“We’re getting dumped products out of Trinidad. We’ve approached Jamaica Flour Mills (JF Mills) to go as an industry to complain to the Anti-Dumping Commission about the situation because they are causing material damage to the industry here,” Richard Pandohie, the general manager of Seprod Limited told the Financial Gleaner newspaper.

He said that the publicly listed entity involved in the manufacturing of oils, fats and corn based products for Jamaica as well as for the export markets, was willing to put competition aside and together with JF Mills lodge a complaint to the relevant authorities.

The paper quoted JF Mills general manager, Ralston Nembhard, as saying that the local industry had started noticing the situation prior to the Christmas season last year.

“There has been a large influx of Trinidad flour at seemingly extraordinary prices, so as an industry we’re definitely going in the direction of bringing an action against that,” Nembhard said.

He told the newspaper there is a marked difference in price when compared with those on the local market, saying “the question isn’t just the price differential here but rather between here and their home market.

“We sell flour in our home market at about US$26-$27 (per 45-kilogram bag). In their own home market flour sells for about US$38 (per 45-kilogram bag), so the difference between what they sell in their own market and what they sell in this market is substantial, especially when you take into account the obvious freight cost from Trinidad up to Jamaica.”

Nembhard said in addition, “You are selling at a price that is less than any of the Jamaican manufacturers can sell for, so it makes the pricing structure somewhat suspect.”

Pandohie said that as an industry Jamaica cannot accept the situation without protest.

“They are selling products to us at prices that are significantly lower than the prices that obtain in their own local market.

“This for us is disappointing, to say the least. It is not something that we should accept. We’re definitely going to fight against it,” Pandohie told the Financial Gleaner.

The newspaper said that at least two brands of flour are being sold at below the domestic prices. It said Caribbean Queen counter flour is produced by Caribbean Flour Mills Limited, a privately-owned mill in Trinidad, while Special Palm Flour, produced by the Trinidad-based National Flour Mills Limited, are sold here in 45-kilogram bags. (CMC)


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