PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday December 21, 2018 – Barbadian company Rock Hard Cement has lost a legal battle to get a lower tariff on imported cement.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has dismissed its application for the removal of an injunction, granted earlier this year, prohibiting Barbados from lowering the tariff on imported cement from 60 per cent to five per cent.
Earlier this year, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and its Barbados subsidiary Arawak Cement Company Limited filed an application for special leave to commence proceedings against Barbados and Rock Hard Cement, over the government reducing the Common External Tariff (CET) on hydraulic cements bought from outside of CARICOM. TCL and Arawak subsequently filed an application for interim relief in reaction to Rock Hard importing cement from Turkey Barbados’ classification of it as “other hydraulic cement” and levying a tariff of five per cent. In July, CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders issued an interim measure ordering Barbados to “restore and enforce” the 60 per cent import duty.
Rock Hard Cement was seeking to have that interim order discharged – a move that TCL and Arawak Cement, the claimants, was fighting.
In an affidavit in support of the application to have the measure discharged, Executive Chairman of Rock Hard Mark Maloney said it “is spelling disaster” for Rock Hard and its ancillary group of companies by causing irreparable harm.
Rock Hard argued that its business was established and its business model and prices derived on the basis of a five per cent rate of duty. It said it was “unable to sustain imports at a rate of 60 per cent, and if the order continues then Rock Hard and its related companies will have to consider ceasing business which will result in losses such as job cuts”.
But in its ruling on the matter, the CCJ concluded: “The claimants’ resistance to the application is well founded. There is no change of circumstances or good and sufficient reason to vary or cancel this court’s order for interim measures.”
However, a determination on exactly what classification of hydraulic cement Rock Hard Cement is importing for its local operations, is still pending.