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Proposed hotel imports deal a concern

The recent proposal that the local hotel industry could end up getting generous concessions has reportedly not gone down well with players in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

And officials of those sectors met with Minister of Industry, Commerce and Trade Donville Inniss recently to start discussions in an effort to ensure those sectors were not negatively impacted should the Government go ahead and slash input costs for hoteliers by offering concessions. It is understood that both the manufacturing and agriculture sector have expressed fears that local products could be further overlooked should Government go ahead with its proposed tax relief.

Although officials who attended the meeting declined to comment, Barbados TODAY gathered that leaders in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors were given time to “compile information” in order to return to the discussion table.

The meetings, which continued today, are expected to end in about two weeks. Then, it is expected a clear path would have been charted for the sectors.

Last weekend, at the reopening of the Escape Hotel in St Lawrence Gap, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy confirmed the meetings, as he assured the agriculture and manufacturing sectors they would have the opportunity to be first in line to supply hotels.

He said he believed if the appropriate mechanisms could be put in place where those sectors could supply the local hotel industry, then importation of products would be a last resort.

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