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Caribbean Expo To Focus On New Import Regulations

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Florida, March 23, 2008 – The Third Annual Florida Caribbean American Business Expo to be held in Orlando, Florida next month will focus attention on many of the concerns faced by the Caribbean American Business Community including new laws and procedures which pertain to the import of certain food items from the Caribbean region.

Executive Chairman of the Expo Planning Committee, Wesley Kirton said that a number of new challenges have emerged since the 2006 Expo at which significant attention was devoted to the requirements and procedures governing various categories of food items from the Caribbean. Then, expo participants had the opportunity to discuss new regulations and requirements regarding imports from the Caribbean with key United States officials including Mr. Russ Morgan, Assistant Area Port Director, US Customs and Border Protection and Annette Schmidt, Agriculture Specialist, US Customs Service.

“Since 2006 there seems to have been some changes in the procedures regarding the importation of certain items including some dairy products, fish and certain vegetables. So this year we will facilitate discussions again on the issue of imports from the Caribbean. While we will not be having formal seminars, arrangements are being finalized to have on hand officials of the relevant agencies to answer questions and address the concerns of the business community,” Kirton said.

He explained that some importers face long delays having containers clear customs because of quota and other procedures which govern the import of certain food items. There is also some confusion as to whether some products which have alcohol as part of their content but are in fact cooking additives, are subject to the same rules as alcohol for consumption.

“There is also a situation where certain species of fish in Florida are on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s protected list but some of these same species are legally imported from the Caribbean and offered for sale in Florida. We have had a problem recently whereby the Fish and Wildlife Service proceeded to take action against a business entity although that entity produced documentary evidence that the fish was imported from the Caribbean. So these are among some of the issues we will be seeking to have clarified during the expo,” Kirton said.

The Expo, put on as part of the observance of Caribbean American Heritage Month in June, will be held May 23-24, 2008 at the Central Florida Fair and Exposition Park on West Colonial Drive, Orlando, Florida, and will serve as Florida’s launching of a month of activities to commeorate the observance. This event will be followed on May 25 by Orlando’s 21st annual Caribbean Carnival.

Among the sponsors of the event are Laparkan Shipping, Port Canaveral, Carnival Cruise Lines, American Express Travel, Spirit Airlines, Air Jamaica, Caribbean Sunshine Bakery, Speedy Quick Printing and Caribbean Supercenter Supermarket.

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