Guam- Guam Product Seal permit holders and vendors are deeply concerned about the Guam Product Seal law and upcoming enforcement efforts by the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA).
GEDA held an informational seminar this morning [Thursday] with Guam Customs and Quarantine and other stakeholders to go over the rules and regulations since the law was enacted in November 2011.
Coco-Jo’s Owner Denise Selk says the law is supposed to protect Guam Product Seal holders, but she feels it scrutinizes and hinders their ability to grow. She argues too many extensions have been given to violators to comply, giving them time to circumvent the law. She also questions why products that are not made on Guam are allowed to be put on the shelves with Guam references and labeling. Selk says the weakness of the law is that there are no incentives.
“It’s not helping the manufacturers,” said Selk. “What is the incentive for anybody to manufacture anything to have the Guam Product Seal on? We have expended lots of money, local manufacturers doing cookies or coconut oils or chocolates or whatever it is. We can’t compete with people who are just buying things in China or Thailand. They pay minimal price in labor and they’re able to undercut and undersell us.”
While she has concerns with the law, Selk notes she has faith in GEDA’s enforcement efforts.
Deputy Administrator Mana Silva Taijeron also says they are making note of the problems that GEDA and Guam Product Seal holders are finding in the law. She mentions they will be making recommendations to the Guam Product Seal Task Force and legislature for future amendments. She adds GEDA is making every effort to provide additional education about the program.
“Just based on our own assessment, initially, we have noticed that there are some ambiguities, some areas that do need clarification,” said Silva Taijeron. “Not just for the enforcement side, but also for the product holders. We want to clear up as much as possible, so that it’s easy for them to come into compliance and to meet these rules and regulations to protect the seal.”
Silva Taijeron adds more seminars are being planned. GEDA will begin to enforce the Guam Product Seal law on June 1.