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CARICOM demand for peanuts continue to grow

There is a growing demand for peanuts in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as member states continue to make Common External Tariff (CET) Suspension requests, amounting to more than 7,000 metric tons and an average value of close to USD $10 million between 2018 and 2019.

In accordance with Article 84 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), member states must obtain approval from CARICOM’s Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) before extra-regional commodity purchases can be imported at tariff rates below the uniformed CET. Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), the country making a notable proportion of the requests for suspension of Peanuts (HS: 1202.20.00), currently applies a zero percent duty to even Most Favored Nations (MFN) countries.

The present CET Suspension notice—for importation between October 2020 and September 2021— indicates that the importing T&T Company, Holiday Snacks Limited, has a demand for approximately 6000 tons of the product. At average international prices of US$1250 per metric ton, according to the World Bank’s Commodity Price data for this month, the value of the quantity demand by the Company is roughly USD$7 million. The company intends to use the good as an intermediary input for its production of “prepared nuts and raisins” (HS 2008), Mixed Nuts preparations, and “Gourmet Trail Mix”. 

In 2019, International Trade Center (ITC) data informs that Trinidad imported just over 5,496 tons of this commodity valued at USD$7.7 million, with 86.6 percent being sourced from the United States. The remaining 13 percent is supplied by China, Argentina and India. 

Over the last five years, ITC statistics informs that T&T’s import of peanuts have grown by an average of 7 percent, and in more recent years (last two years) there has been a slight overall decline, although purchases from India (up 81%) and China (up 5%) have seen an uptick. 

The world’s leading exporter of groundnuts is India, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of the global industry in 2019. Second in line is the United States which supplies 15 percent and China at third with 14%.  Globally, 2019 data shows that this is a US$ 3.1 billion industry, with average growth over the last two years being at almost 30%. While the product is produced domestically in several regional markets, at present there is not any noteworthy Caricom-based exporter of this product. 

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