MPs approve customs relief to commercial printers of foreign newspapers
Importing foreign newspapers into Bermuda is “no longer a viable commercial proposition” Premier Paula Cox told MPs yesterday, as she proposed customs relief for those who want to print them here instead.
The Finance Minister introduced measures to make it cheaper for people to import various items to the Island, including machinery and supplies for printing foreign newspapers.
“The Government proposes that a concessionary duty rate of 15 percent should be provided in relation to printing machinery,” she told the House of Assembly.
“In addition, it is intended that a concessionary rate of ten percent should apply to paper for use in commercial printing of foreign newspapers. Such machinery and supplies ordinarily attract duty at the rate of 22.25 percent.”
She told MPs import duty on foreign newspapers was already zero but the cost of bringing such publications to Bermuda had increased to the point it was no longer worthwhile.
“The new duty relief is calculated to encourage the importation of high-speed printers and related supplies for use in commercial printing of foreign newspapers digitally and on demand,” she said.
“This enhanced newspaper service will be of benefit to local and international business, tourism and the local community; nobody likes to read ‘yesterday's news'.”
Ms Cox added: “Even though we are using the instrument of duty relief, this is how we can find a way to drive demand and assist, even if it's on a micro level. It will help to add to some jobs and further strengthen the business of a couple of existing businesses. Now they'll be able to expand to do this and take some people on to do this.”
The relief was approved by MPs as part of the Customs Tariff Amendment (No 2) Act 2011.
The legislation also imposes zero customs duty on parts for water filtering and purifying machinery; structures and mountings for photovoltaic panels and electric generators; and marine safety equipment and parts. It imposes a temporary zero rate for trailers and semi-trailers, along with eight percent duty on taxis suitable for disabled people.
Ms Cox said the reduction for trailers would help facilitate the movement and storage of goods for long-term projects, such as the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital redevelopment.
And on the taxis, she said: “Partial duty relief should be provided in relation to taxis that are specially designed or adapted to transport physically disabled persons. Honourable members will be aware that there is an existing concessionary rate of ten percent for taxis.
“A concessionary rate of eight percent is provided as a further encouragement to taxi operators to purchase taxis that can accommodate the physically disabled.”
She said the relief contained in the amendment was for good purposes. Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said: “I can't really find anything here that's been said that's objectionable.”