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WTO to Consider Requests for Continuing Incentives for Local Manufacturers

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Monday, April 8, 2002 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony says Government's requests for continuation of subsidies for local manufacturers will be considered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the end of this month.

According to the Prime Minister, who is also responsible for Finance and Economic Development, changes in global trade have made it impossible for Caribbean governments to continue offering fiscal incentives for industry.

He said the elimination of protection and ongoing efforts to change the way trade is carried out internationally, now makes it necessary for Caribbean governments to have to first seek permission from the WTO for continuation of such incentives as subsidies for manufacturers.

The Prime Minister said the current request by OECS territories, including St. Lucia, for continuation of existing subsidies for manufacturers will be considered by the WTO at a meeting scheduled from April 29 to May 1.

St. Lucia and the other countries concerned had all, within the set deadlines, notified the WTO of the fiscal incentives and other measures they proposed to continue to implement. The experts point out, however, that such measures, under existing WTO rules, would technically be in breach of the rules prohibiting subsidization of manufacturing and would otherwise have to be phased out by December 31, 2002.

The Prime Minister says countries that have requested extensions will be expected to answer written questions by April 24, 2002.


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