The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which has provided a structured system of textile and apparel duty preferences for certain countries, most notably Haiti, since it was implemented in 2000, has a new lease on life.
After the Senate followed the House and passed the “Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act” on Oct. 1, President Trump signed the act into law over the weekend. Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), welcomed Congressional passage and the signing of the bill, which extends CBTPA through Sept. 30, 2030.
“The CBTPA is an essential program that supports trade with Haiti and supports thousands of American and Haitian jobs in the textile and apparel sector,” Lamar said. “By extending the program for 10 years, the Trump administration has provided the industry with certainty to promote growth in the region and secure these jobs. We are thankful to all of the champions in Congress who supported this bill and pushed it over the finish line.”
AAFA said CBTPA supports 30 percent of Haitian exports to the U.S. and has strong support in the apparel industry. The National Council of Textile Organizations and National Cotton Council (NCC) had also supported passage of the act. NCC sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of two key congressional committees on Wednesday voicing support for a timely extension of the CBTPA.
The organizations said CBTPA has provided a structured system of textile and apparel duty preferences for certain countries, most notably Haiti, over the last 20 years. NCTO and NCC said the U.S. textile and cotton industries see significant benefits from the program, which has helped establish an export market for U.S.-grown cotton, U.S.-spun yarn and other textile materials of U.S. origin.
The U.S. content rule contained in CBTPA provides a mutual benefit to the U.S. industry and the Caribbean Basin region economies. Also urging passage were the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, National Retail Federation, Council of Fashion Designers of America, the Accessories Council and the Outdoor Industry Association.
According to data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel, imports from Haiti decreased by 33.65 percent to 128.37 square meter equivalents (SME) in the first half of the year and declined 35.32 percent in value to $304.92 million.
CBTPA, which is part of the Caribbean Basin Initiative that includes other island nations in the region, posted apparel imports to the U.S. of 986.49 million SME in 2019, an increase of 11 percent increase over 2018.
In addition to Haiti, beneficiaries to CBTPA are Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.