Under the new, soon-to-be-implemented Trade Laws, companies will no longer be approved by the Trade Commission to conduct retail and wholesale businesses in the same market.
Policy Analyst Lizette George said while responding to questions from Claude Skelton Cline during his Honestly Speaking show on Thursday, “That’s actually something the board can look at in terms of how the market operates and if, in fact, they are going to allow large companies to come in and just do distribution, not even wholesaling, because wholesaling is actually one of the areas that are reserved in the Act for BV Islanders, Belongers.”
She added, “The fair competition policy which will eventually become an Act, will speak to those things in terms of ensuring that these big conglomerates do not disadvantage or disenfranchise locals and smaller businesses.”
However, she added, for companies that fall in that category that currently exists would remain.
“The Act will not touch them or disadvantage them,” she pointed out.
Another area that will be on the table will be the issue of weights and measurements in the market, she explained.
“Those things will be addressed, and that’s the reason why I said that this agency is going to be a highly technical agency because these are the things we are going to be looking at. Looking at the weights and measures, and all of those things that require good business practices when offering goods or services to our consumers.”
Meanwhile, Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Hon. Shereen Flax Charles said the government is aware of the flaws that exist in the system.
“We are quite aware of a lot of these things which are not correct or not totally correct within the business sector and throughout and we will aim to right those things. What I will tell you is that nobody likes change but sometimes change happens, and you kick up, but five months down the road, you realize, you know what? There is more benefit to it. We have to tackle them head-on, we cannot continue to sweep them under the rug so to speak.”
They spoke against the backdrop of the ongoing consultations on the Business Licensing Act 2020 and the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020 that had their first readings in the House of Assembly.