Program Benefits Haiti's Apparel Sector and Encourages Niche Products Elsewhere in the Region
The overall effect of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) on the U.S. economy continues to be negligible, while the effect on U.S. consumers and beneficiary countries is small but positive, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its report Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act: Impact on U.S. Industries and Consumers and on Beneficiary Countries, Twentieth Report, 2009-10.
Imports benefiting from CBERA fell sharply in 2009 before rebounding strongly in 2010, according to the report. The drop can be mostly attributed to the exit of Costa Rica from CBERA and the U.S. recession and its effects on the demand for imports and on commodity prices. The U.S. recovery led to higher demand for imports, including imports benefiting from CBERA, and most commodity prices rebounded. CBERA trade preferences continue to benefit Haiti's apparel sector and to encourage the development of niche products elsewhere in the region.
The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently issued its 20th report in a series monitoring imports under the CBERA. The CBERA program, operative since January 1, 1984, affords preferential tariff treatment to most products of 18 designated Caribbean and South American countries.
The USITC report covers the impact of the CBERA on the United States, with particular emphasis on calendar year 2010. The CBERA requires the Commission to prepare a biennial report assessing both the actual and the probable future effects of the CBERA on the U.S. economy generally, on U.S. industries, and on U.S. consumers. The report also covers the impact of the overall preference program on the beneficiary countries themselves. Following are highlights of the 2009 10 report.
- The overall effect of CBERA-exclusive imports (imports that could receive tariff preferences only under CBERA provisions) on the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers continued to be negligible in 2010.
- Imports under the CBERA program continued to fall from their peak of $12.3 billion in 2005, reaching $2.4 billion in 2009 and $2.9 billion in 2010, reflecting the exit of six CAFTA-DR countries from CBERA.
- The Commission finds 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 U.S. consumers and producers.
- Exporting CBERA-eligible goods is a challenge for many CBERA beneficiaries because of their supply-side constraints. The economies of many CBERA countries have become more oriented to international trade in services, rendering CBERA trade preferences for exports of goods less relevant to their economic future.
Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act: Impact on U.S. Industries and Consumers and on Beneficiary Countries, Twentieth Report, 2009-10 (Inv. No. 332-227, USITC Publication No. 4271, September 2011) is available at http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4271.pdf. The publication will also be available at federal depository libraries in the United States.
A CD-ROM or printed copy of the report may be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 202-205-2000, or writing to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.
USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requestor for national security reasons.