The Government of Montserrat has made a series of adjustments to its import duties making some essential more affordable while penalising other products.
With a focus on health and the environment, the new tariffs relax duties on items classified as ‘healthy alternatives’ while penalising products deemed as harmful to the environment.
Import duties on pure natural juices have been reduced from 15 per cent to 5 per cent in some cases as they are classified as “a healthy alternative to the mostly sugary drinks.”
Similar tariff reductions have also been applied to health food supplements “to encourage persons to consume healthy foods”, and on importing live farm animals “in an effort to promote the livestock and animal husbandry industry,” the government says.
On the other hand, “in an effort to discourage persons from selecting sugary drinks as their preferred drink of choice, and hopefully encourage them to choose healthier alternatives", the duty has been increased from 15 to 50 per cent.
Sanitary products are now duty-free, and to reduce the cost of clothing the government has cut customs duties from 30 per cent to 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, a 50 per cent tariff has been slapped on single-use plastic bags and containers, styrofoam food and drink containers and drinking straws, initially for a year following which their importation will be banned.
And to cut down on smoking, the import duty on tobacco products already at a high of 40 per cent has been further hiked to 50 per cent.