Caribbean Rum producers have welcomed the signing of a trade deal between the Caribbean Forum of ACP States (CARIFORUM) and the United Kingdom. The deal, which was finalised last week in St. Lucia will come into effect on the departure of the UK from the European Union and it seeks to mirror the benefits provided to the Caribbean in the region’s Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU.
Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Komal Samaroo, Chairman of the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA), and head of the Guyana-based Demerara Distillers conglomerate said: “We’re extremely happy to see the culmination of this agreement which both sides, our governments here in the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom, have worked hard to achieve. The UK is the major export destination for our rums, and we are pleased that the agreement will maintain our continued access to that market.”
According to Samaroo, “Our premium, high quality rums are the region’s leading export product and its largest export earner after minerals. The rum industry is also a significant employer in the region. The trade continuity agreement will contain key provisions that provide protection from artificially low value products from competing producers which benefit from government subsidies.”
He added, “As we strive to compete in a highly competitive global market, we present a value proposition based on authentic origin and provenance, and the tremendous diversity and rum heritage of our region’s countries. This agreement will help us to maintain a level playing field”.