The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) reserved judgement last month on whether to back the previous rulings of regional and global watchdogs that Rock Hard Cement, imported from outside the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is exempt from higher taxes applied to third-country goods, reported Barbados Today.

Both the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) ruled that the Rock Hard Cement product imported from Turkey and Portugal is correctly classified as “other hydraulic cement” and therefore attracts a much lower tax rate than what is produced in the region by competitors Arawak Cement Ltd. and Trinidad Cement Ltd.

Lawyers on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago and Trinidad Cement insist that the classification of the WCO and COTED is “unsafe, unreliable and incorrect.” The counsel suggested that Rock Hard Cement be classified as “building cement grey” and liable to a 15% tariff rather than the current 5%. Additionally, the counsel suggested that the lower tax which Rock Hard has enjoyed since 2015 is unfairly competing with the regionally produced cement of Arawak Cement and Trinidad Cement.

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