The programs known collectively as the CBI are vital elements in U.S. economic relations with its neighbors in the Caribbean and Central America. Initially launched in 1983 by the CBERA and substantially expanded in 2000 with the CBTPA, the CBI was further expanded in the Trade Act of 2002. The HOPE Act, the HOPE II Act of 2008, and the HELP Act provided additional benefits for textile and apparel products from Haiti. As of 2015, CBI provides 17 countries and dependent territories with duty-free access to the U.S. market for most goods.
Haiti has been the second leading source of U.S. imports entering under CBI tariff preferences since 2009 when Costa Rica left the CBI. Apparel accounts for about 96 percent of U.S. imports from Haiti and almost all imports of apparel from Haiti enter under CBTPA or the HELP and the two HOPE Acts. In 2014, much of the continued growth in U.S. imports of apparel from Haiti is attributed to the HOPE/HELP preference programs, which for the second time surpassed apparel imports under CBI provisions. Imports of apparel from Haiti at preferential tariff rates rose 5.5 percent in 2012 and 9.2 percent in 2014 as the utilization of preferences under the HOPE Acts increased.
Haitian exports were up by 3 percent in 2014 from 2013. Apparel exports to the United States account for 90 percent of Haitian exports. Haiti is eligible for duty-free entry of textiles pursuant to CBTPA, the HOPE Act, and the HELP Act (which increased the apparel quotas and extended the CBTPA and the HOPE Act through September 30, 2020). Under the recently-passed Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, these trade preferences were extended to September 30, 2025. According to the Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel, total U.S. apparel imports from Haiti increased by 6.3 percent in 2014, reaching over $854 million.