After lobbying for an extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) over the course of recent months, industry trade groups have been vindicated.
On Tuesday, the House approved the extension of the CBTPA—which has helped U.S. businesses facilitate trade within important partners like Haiti, located in the Caribbean Basin region—until Sept. 30, 2030. The legislation was originally set to expire on Sept. 30 of this year. A Senate aide familiar with the matter told Sourcing Journal Wednesday that the CBTPA is expected to pass with unanimous consent before that date.
The CBTPA has strengthened the trade partnership between the U.S. and Haiti in recent years, trade groups say, with American brands and companies patronizing the Caribbean country’s textile and apparel suppliers at a higher rate than ever before. The growth of the relationship has helped the U.S. in its mission to stave off dependence on China for these products and diversify into new markets.
In 2019, all of the imports of textiles and apparel under CBTPA were sourced from Haiti.
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO Steve Lamar heralded the House’s passage of the legislation that would extend the CBTPA as a victory for the industry, saying that the program also helps support U.S.-based textile jobs because of the requirement that apparel imports to the U.S. market include stateside-manufactured yarns and fabrics.
Lamar offered thanks to Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) for their leadership on the issue, as well as House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and their colleagues for their support.
“We now urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this measure before it expires eight days from today, and for President Trump to sign it into law,” he added. “At a time of considerable uncertainty, it is reassuring to see Congress approve a 10-year renewal of the CBTPA to foster predictable and stable trade with Haiti.”
In August, the AAFA joined forces with industry trade groups like the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the Accessories Council and the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), co-signing a letter to the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, urging the CBTPA’s renewal.
“Overall, CBTPA is structured in a fashion that reasonably balances the interests of U.S. textile manufacturers with those of textile and apparel manufacturers in the region,” the signatories wrote at the time.
The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) and National Cotton Council (NCC) voiced their own support of the legislation’s renewal in a letter sent earlier this month to the chairs and ranking members of two key congressional committees. Both organizations said that U.S. textile and cotton suppliers had seen significant gains from the facilitation of partnership with the Caribbean Basin region, which has been established as an export market for U.S. cotton, yarns and other materials.