Belize’s trade policy is highly influenced by its participation in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) in which a common external policy is sought. The Directorate for Foreign Trade is mandated to formulate Belize’s national and external trade policy and to negotiate trade and investment agreements on behalf of Belize. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/caricom/caricind.asp) signed in 2001, governs trade relations in CARICOM.
Trade in Goods
Belize, like all other CARICOM Members, applies a Common External Tariff (CET)1 on imports. The CET provides for a harmonized coding system for the importation of goods outside of the CARICOM region. Article 82 of The Revised Treaty provides for free movement of goods in which all imports from CARICOM Member States that meet CARICOM rules of origin enter duty free with the exception of some products which carry a Revenue Replacement Duty (RRD). (View list).
The CET sets minimum and maximum duty rates for all member countries. Non-CARICOM goods have a rate structure of 0-20% applied to them. Due to the sensitive nature of the agricultural sector, a rate of 40% is applied.2
Community Rules of Origin
In order to receive exemption, importers must submit a CARICOM Certificate of Origin which validates that the product originated within CARICOM. Article 84 of the Revised Treaty sets out the application of the CARICOM Rules of Origin3Regime.
To meet the criteria of originating, goods have to be wholly produced within the Community, or have been produced within the Community wholly or partially from materials imported from outside the Community or from materials of undetermined origin by a process which effects a substantial transformation characterized by:
a) the goods being classified in a tariff heading different from that in which any of those materials is classified; or
b) In a case of the goods set out in the List in Schedule 1 to the Treaty, only be satisfying the conditions specified on Rules of Origin.
For further information see Breedy Report.
Trade in Services
Chapter 3 of the Revised Treaty provides the framework for the establishment of a regime for free trade in services. The objective is to facilitate trade and investment in the services sectors through the establishment of economic enterprises in CARICOM. (See Right of Establishment in ‘Investment Regime’). The regime grants the following benefits:
- CARICOM-owned companies will have the right to establish and operate businesses in any CARICOM member-state under thesame terms and conditions as local companies. Managerial, technical and supervisory staff of these enterprises will be able to enter and workwithout work permits.
- CARICOM service providers will be able to offer their services throughout the region, again without work permits, usually on a temporary basis, e.g., consultancies.
If you are a CARICOM National and wish to work in Belize, you can obtain a skills certificate from your country or make an application the Department of Immigration in Belize. (View Requirements for CARICOM Skilled Certificate)