Government Trade Co-ordinator Dr Clarence Henry said the paint manufacturer, in which government is a minority shareholder, plays a critical part in the national economy and he was exploring the possibility of getting protection for the company at the CARICOM level under the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which governs the CSME.
Henry explained that as part of this process, any company in a less developed country (LDC) in CARICOM must have the support of all the LDCs as well as two of the more developed countries MDCs in order to receive protection for that national industry.
“Having recognised the fact that Lee Wind Paints has been undergoing tremendous challenges in recent years, we are looking at the possibility of requesting LDC member states as well as two More Developed Countries to look at the possibility of having (the company) included under article 162 protection,” Henry said.
“At the present time there is a review of the article currently being undertaken by a consultant … We are hoping when all the member states meet for a review of that consultant’s report that we will also discuss the possibility of new industries receiving the protection,” Henry said.
Henry explained what form any CARICOM protection could take.
“You will find that from time to time all the industries protected under section 164, they are given a certain tariff arrangement where the same product within CARICOM out of the MDCs are given a marginally higher tariff line and even higher coming from third states, all in an effort to support industries,” Henry said.