Bipartisan Caribbean trade bill introduced by Sewell

Published 4:23 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, joined with Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-OH, to introduce legislation to reauthorize the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) through 2030.

For nearly 20 years, the CBTPA has allowed for the “duty- and quota-free import of goods made with U.S. yarns, fabrics and threads from Caribbean countries,” according to a press release from Sewell’s office.

“Extending the U.S. Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act will expand the United States’ trade with Caribbean basin countries and increase our nation’s economic growth,” Sewell said. “Improving trade with countries like Haiti and Jamaica by reauthorizing CBTPA encourages future investment, promotes job creation and lays the foundation for long-term economic development.”

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The legislation, known as the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), would reauthorize the CBTPA for the next decade and provide unimpeded access to “apparel products manufactured in certain Caribbean countries.”

Further, the legislation requires these Caribbean countries, specifically Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, to utilize U.S.-formed yarns fabrics and threads.

The “CBTPA works in conjunction with the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) to facilitate the development of 17 independent countries of the Caribbean Basin region. For these two preferential trade programs to be effective, both CBTPA and CBERA must be authorized. Eligible CBERA countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago,” according to the press release.