On October 10, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 991 the Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, which provides preferential duty treatment of certain apparel items imported from various Caribbean countries.
The CBERA is a major legislative component of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, a unilateral preferential program operated by the United States since the 1980s which extends duty-free treatment for most goods from beneficiary countries entering the U.S. with the view to promoting economic development in those countries (i.e., Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago).
The Act extends the CBERA for 10 years, and is retroactive to September 30, when the underlying legislation expired.
In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the reauthorization “will help to preserve well-paying jobs in the U.S. textile industry while also strengthening our trade ties with Caribbean beneficiary countries, especially Haiti.”
The bill signed by President Trump also extends the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act — companion legislation passed in 2000 that gave a subset of CBERA countries expanded duty-free access to the U.S. market for certain goods — through September 30, 2030
USTR Lighthizer noted that “CBTPA is unique among U.S. trade preference programs in that it requires the use of US-manufactured yarns or fabrics in finished apparel goods eligible for trade benefits, supporting many jobs in the U.S. textile sector.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon be issuing instructions on how to claim benefits for shipments entered between September 30 and October 10, 2020.
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