16th July 2017

Caribbean Bottling’s $500k investment hit by tariff slash 

BAHAMAS     Budget tariff cuts by the Bahamas government could jeopardise Caribbean Bottling’s $500,000 investment in the July launch of a new juice drink line. President and chief executive Walter Wells, said that while a last-minute tariff revision by the government was “better than it being zero”, manufacturers like himself required continued policy support.

The government reacting to opposition from Caribbean Bottling and other local juice drink manufacturers, revised their plans to eliminate the 60% duty rate on imports by cutting the rate in half to 30%. Mr Wells said that there had been no consultation or warning from the Government over the proposed juice drink tariff elimination, and revealed that it would have had had an adverse effect impact on the company’s expansion plans. “There are significant costs we have to pay and cover before we put a single bottle or can on the shelf in the Bahamas.”

“We are launching what we call Fruit Coolers, Minute Maid Fruit Coolers; four flavours. We had already invested around $500,000 to launch this.” Mr Wells said Caribbean Bottling had 200 employees, similar to other manufacturers. He questioned whether the Bahamas wanted to lose these jobs, and the money locally-produced products kept in the economy, through ill-considered government policy.

Source: Bahamas Tribune

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