MINISTER of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon has said suspension of the Common External Tariff was sought on hundreds of items, but Panadol was not approved.
Responding to questions at the launch of the ministry’s export booster initiative at the ministry, Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port of Spain, Gopee-Scoon Minister Gopee-Scoon indicated that the Suspension of the CET is sought on hundreds of pharmaceutical items, in excess of 2000. With regard to Panadol, the suspension of the CET was not approved as a similar product is manufactured in the region with the same key ingredient.
The CET is a single tariff rate agreed to by members of Caricom on imports of products from outside the region. Goods from Caricom do not attract these duties.
While Panadol products were not approved for the removal of tariffs, approvals were given to 2,800 other pharmaceutical products.
“Our government, through thick and thin, has always supported the imports of medicine without duties," said the minister, "but a few of them are produced in the region. So if it is produced in the region, then we will not enjoy that duty-free entry into our territory."