Trade Policy Scope and Taxation Study in Belize

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Fernández Monge, Ernesto
Dec 2013
The Technical Note provides an overview of the trends in Belize's tariff structure over recent years, in particular its trade policy, commitments and obligations, the tax revenue implications, and the scope for policy implementation. Specifically, it assesses the country's level of compliance with CARICOM commitments, such as the application of the common external tariff, and outlines and analyzes Belize's trade agreement obligations and their timing and impact with respect to fiscal incentives. It provides policy recommendations and alternatives for compliance with Belize's international trade commitments, for example with the World Trade Organization (WTO), from legislative and policy changes to further trade liberalization and fiscal measures to ensure compliance with its existing international tariff and nontariff commitments. The study considers the solution to eliminate the use of revenue replacement duties, lower all tariffs on excisable goods, and then levy an excise tax on each of the goods up to the current level imposed by import and revenue replacement duties. The study argues in favor of the elimination of the Environmental Tax, as it violates the principle of WTO national treatment in its current form, and takes into account that the export incentive programs will have to be reformed to comply with the rules of the WTO before the end of 2015. Finally, the study proposes a transformation or rationalization of the import license regime to make it more predictable, transparent, and nondiscriminatory.