US legislators push to extend Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act

Saturday, October 07, 2017

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — Three United States Congress legislators have tabled legislation extending the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which is set to expire in 2020.

Florida's two US senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, have unveiled the “Caribbean Basin Economy Recovery Act.”

The proposal extends the CBTPA, which allows Caribbean countries aligned with the US federal government in battling drug trafficking and with high labour standards to export goods containing American dyes and fabrics into the US duty-free. The CBTPA was established in 2000.

Nelson introduced the bill, which was then sent to the US Senate Finance Committee.

“These trade programs are a lifeline for some of our closest allies, which also happen to be some of the poorest countries in the Caribbean,” Nelson said.

“Extending this trade program not only helps provide stability in the region, it also helps the Florida businesses that rely on international trade.”

Rubio said that “extending these targeted trade preferences helps boost key American exports and solidifies fragile economies, like Haiti's, in a crucial region for US security.

“This bill will help reaffirm the US commitment to developing deeper economic relationships with our regional allies, and supporting stable and democratic political institutions in the Caribbean,” he said.

Alabama Democratic Congressman Terri Sewell also introduced a similar bill in the US House of Representatives last week, with Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo as the chief sponsor on the Republican side.

“This bipartisan legislation to promote US trade with Caribbean island countries is needed as many islands begin to recover from the devastation of recent hurricanes,” Sewell said.

“Economic growth in Alabama is one of my top priorities, and this bill represents a great opportunity to expand my home state's trade with Caribbean basin countries,” he added.

Sewell said that reauthorising CBTPA until 2030 and improving trade with Caribbean countries encourage future investment, promote job creation, and lay “the foundation for economic development for decades to come.

“Since coming to Congress, I've worked to build a stronger, more competitive US economy, and today's bill takes a big step towards that goal,” he said.

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