Letter Supporting H.R. 5160, the "Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act of 2010"
April 29, 2010
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, supports H.R. 5160, the "Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act of 2010," as a means to foster stability and growth in earthquake-stricken Haiti through mutually beneficial trade.
While this legislation is not a panacea, Haiti's citizens would benefit from an expansion of two-way commerce under extended and enhanced trade preferences. Export-related jobs in Haiti pay wages that are well above average, with the added benefit of bringing workers into the formal sector. The stability provided by the long-term extension of trade preferences under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008 (HOPE II) and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act of 2000 is needed to attract and sustain investment in Haiti's manufacturing sector.
In fact, prior to the January 12 earthquake, Haiti had been on a path of positive economic growth in part as a result of the investment incentives provided to the textile and apparel sectors in HOPE II. By providing local citizens with alternatives to illegal emigration and narcotics trafficking, enhanced trade preferences may serve as an effective alternative development program.
Both the economic and foreign policy interests of the United States would benefit from the extension of trade preference and increased development assistance to Haiti; therefore, the Chamber urges you to support this important legislation.
R. Bruce Josten