The government will be establishing a committee to review duties applied to imported raw foodstuffs following the removal of general consumption tax, GCT, from those items.

That’s according to finance minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke.

Tauna Thomas reports.

In his opening budget presentation two weeks ago, the finance minister said the removal of GCT from all domestic or imported raw food items was to avoid trade sanctions from other member states of the World Trade Organization, WTO.

Following the announcement, stakeholders in the agriculture sector called for the government to consider increasing the stamp duty.

In his closing budget presentation on Tuesday, Dr. Clarke announced that a multi-stakeholder group would be set up to review the duties applied.

He says the government is committed to quickly reviewing the additional stamp duty regime.

The opposition has questioned the plan to remove GCT on the items.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding, during his contribution to the budget debate, said an aggrieved member state must first enter into consultations with a non-compliant member state to seek changes to an offending measure.

He further noted that the offending member state could win concessions before requesting the establishment of a panel to settle the dispute.

But Dr. Clarke says the GCT provision is not negotiable under the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.