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CBERA Had a Positive Effect on Haiti's Apparel Sector

The effect of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) on the US economy, imports, industry, and consumers is negligible, while that on beneficiary nations is small but positive, according to a US government agency, which said CBERA provisions for Haiti have had a strong, positive effect on export earnings and job creation in the apparel sector there.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC), an independent, non-partisan, fact-finding federal agency, recently released its 24th biennial report monitoring US imports under CBERA for 2017-18.

The CBERA program, operational since January 1, 1984, affords preferential tariff treatment to most products of the 17 designated Caribbean countries that received CBERA benefits during the period covered in the report.

USITC identified two US industries - methanol and T-shirts - that most likely have faced negative effects due to competition from CBERA imports.

US imports receiving preferential treatment under CBERA totaled $1.7 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.1 percent from $1.5 billion in 2017.

The value of US imports under CBERA declined between 2012 and 2016 but increased in both 2017 and 2018. The change was driven primarily by increasing imports of two products: methanol from Trinidad and Tobago, and apparel from Haiti.

Petroleum-related products accounted for 29.9 percent of imports under CBERA in 2018, with Trinidad and Tobago's methanol supplying 89 percent of such imports. Textiles and apparel, supplied mainly by Haiti, accounted for 56 percent of US imports under CBERA in 2018, with cotton T-shirts supplying 30.1 percent of those imports, according to a USITC press release.

The future effect of CBERA on the US economy and domestic industries will likely remain small, the US agency said.




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