TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports H.R. 991, the “Extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act,” which would renew trade preferences for Haiti and other Caribbean countries for ten years. The Chamber urges Congress to renew this program, which will expire at the end of this month absent congressional action. The Chamber will consider including votes on this legislation in our annual “How They Voted” scorecard.
Since its enactment in 2000, this trade program has helped develop mutually beneficial trade between the United States and the Caribbean region, most notably with Haiti. The program requires the use of U.S.- or Caribbean-made yarns and fabrics, which has made Haiti – as the principal country still participating in the program – an important export market for U.S. textiles.
As such, the program supports numerous U.S. textile, apparel, and footwear jobs while advancing economic development in the region. The program enjoys support from across the breadth of the U.S. textile and apparel supply chain, from American cotton growers and textile producers to apparel manufacturers and retailers.
Renewing the program is important not just for U.S. jobs but for jobs in Haiti as well. As Haitian Ambassador to the United States Hervé H. Denis recently testified before the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, this program supports tens of thousands of jobs in Haiti. Failure to renew this program could cause companies to lay off workers, reduce wages and benefits, and cut investment in both the United States and Haiti. Such an outcome could also undermine U.S. foreign policy goals in the region.
H.R. 991 would renew a valuable tool promoting market-based economic growth in the Caribbean, strengthening U.S. manufacturing at the same time. The Chamber urges Congress to renew this important program.
Senior Vice President
U.S. Chamber of Commerce