Saturday, September 30, 2017

CBERA Continues to Have a Small but Positive Impact on Beneficiary Countries and a Negligible Effect on U.S. Consumers; Imports Declined in 2016, Says USITC

On September 29, 2017, the USITC released Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act: Impact on U.S. Industries and Consumers and on Beneficiary Countries, Twenty-third Report, 2015-16 (Inv. No. 332-227, USITC Publication 4728, September 2017)

  • CBERA has encouraged several beneficiary countries to develop niche exports to the United States, including polystyrene from The Bahamas, fruits and fruit juices from Belize, and electronic products from St. Kitts and Nevis.
  • The report found that investment for the near-term production and export of CBERA-eligible products is not likely to result in imports that would have a measurable economic impact on the U.S. economy generally and on U.S. producers.
  • Exporting CBERA-eligible goods is a challenge for many CBERA beneficiaries because of supply-side constraints, including inadequate infrastructure and an increasing focus on the export of services. However, special CBERA provisions for Haiti have had a strong, positive effect on export earnings and job creation in Haiti's apparel sector.

Textile and apparel imports under CBERA decreased slightly overall, but textile and apparel imports under the HOPE and HELP Acts increased. The value of U.S. imports of textiles and apparel entering under CBERA trade preferences dropped 22.3 percent, from $396.8 million in 2015 to $308.2 million in 2016. The decrease in the value of U.S. imports of textile and apparel goods under CBERA was greater than the 6.4 percent drop in overall U.S. imports of textiles and apparel in 2016. The latter decline reflects a volatile retail environment in 2016, with some U.S. retailers facing bankruptcies and store closures. Haiti continues to be the top CBERA supplier of U.S. textile and apparel imports in 2016, accounting for more than 99 percent of such imports. Although total textile and apparel imports from Haiti dropped from 2015 to $848.5 million in 2016, U.S. imports from Haiti under the HOPE/HELP trade preference provisions increased by 7.5 percent to $535.0 million in 2016. More than 60 percent of the duty free imports of textile and apparel from Haiti now utilize the HOPE/HELP preferences rather than the older but more narrowly defined CBTPA preferences.

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