I would like to voice my opinion pertaining to the ToT that is being levied by SXM on goods sold to Statia. We can safely establish that these goods are not produced in SXM. This is one of the few instances in the world that one country collects taxes on goods sold to another country. This form of instruments of commercial industrial policy is rarely used and is outdated. This type of instrument is used to protect the internal market and/or industries and is a deterrent to free enterprise. Free or optimum trade thrives when goods can be traded without hindrance by taxes/duties. Generally it is accepted that when goods are sold for resale, remanufacture, transit or export no local taxes are added on. For example goods bought in Miami, Puert Rico or Holland that are destined for another country are exempt from sale tax.
In a free market, goods that carry a high price results in a reduction of the amount of goods sold. This practice can only survive in an environment where SXM has a monopoly position in terms of goods imported to Statia or where it pertains to a basic good.(a good that the people cannot live without). As we know approximately 95% of the goods imported to Statia comes from St. Maarten. Therefore we can safely conclude that political goals (balancing SXM budget) are the motivation for the imposition of ToT on goods sold to Statia. The Dutch government and all stakeholders need to start seeking alternative markets for the purchase of goods. This is the clearest message that can be send in the interest of free trade and the Statian consumer. It is safe to conclude that their dollars will also be accepted by other wholesalers in the world.
Rueben Merkman, DP island council member St. Eustatius