Unfair rum trade
The Barbados government says it is working with other partners within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping as well as at the international level to ensure that the island does not face unfair competition with regards to the export of its rum products.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said that Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have been able to purchase products much cheaper than Caribbean rum producers and as a result, this gave them an unfair advantage as far as rum exports were concerned.
"The rum industry is too important to Barbados, and yes it is a CARICOM issue, but I don't think any CARICOM country has any reason to be as concerned about this as Barbados," he said.
"Rum is assuming an importance for Barbados that we cannot afford to ignore. So, this is a front burner issue and we are following it very closely," Stuart said, adding that he recently held lengthy discussions with the US Assistant Secretary of State on the matter and also met with Barbados' Ambassador to Washington, John Beale, and Barbados' Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert 'Bobby' Morris.