WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize a trade law that has benefited the United States, and 23 countries in the Caribbean basin, for nearly 20 years.
The Extension of the Caribbean Economic Recovery Act, would extend, until 2030, duty-free access for certain textile goods from 23 Caribbean countries that are made with U.S. yarns, fabrics and threads. These trade preferences have stimulated the region’s developing economy while promoting exports of U.S. cotton and input materials abroad.
“The countries in the Caribbean Basin are increasingly vital trade partners for American companies—stimulating economic growth here at home and in the region,” Cardin said. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act so we can continue create jobs while we strengthen the relationship between the United States and countries in the Caribbean Basin.”
“Extending these targeted trade preferences through 2030 will help to boost key American exports in a crucial region for U.S. national security interests and hemispheric stability,” Rubio said. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill, which will reaffirm our nation’s commitment to developing deeper commercial and economic ties with Haiti and our other allies in the Caribbean.”
“For nearly 20 years, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act has stimulated jobs and investment,” Isakson said. “Not only does this program aid Georgia and American cotton growers, textile producers and U.S. trade in general, it is beneficial to our regional allies. It is a win-win-win prospect, and I hope we can quickly pass this reauthorization to maintain this alliance and encourage future investment.”
“The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act has been crucial to lifting people out of poverty and providing markets for our farmers and textile industry,” Jones said. “Reauthorizing this agreement is critical to our economy and our partnerships with our neighbors and allies in the Caribbean and now more than ever, it’s vital that we work across the aisle to strategically grow new markets for US exports.”
Preferences under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act extended by this bill were enacted by Congress in 2000 and extended in 2010. Without reauthorization, the legislation would expire in September 2020.
Since its inception, yarn and fabric exports made from U.S.-grown cotton have doubled. In 2018, these exports accounted for 430,000 bales of U.S. cotton.
U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) introduced companion legislation in the House along with cosponsors Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio).