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Caribbean Trade Legislation Passes United States Senate

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC)— Legislation which extends the United States-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) through 2030 has passed the Senate this week by unanimous consent, the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat has reported.

It said that HR 991 had passed the House on September 23 and that the “legislation will come into force when signed by President Donald Trump.

“The St Lucia Embassy in Washington DC had led the Caricom effort to get the legislation passed since taking on the role of chair of the Caribbean Caucus of Ambassadors in July of 2019. St Lucia continues to lead the caucus’ sub-committee on US Congressional Engagement,” the Caricom Secretariat added.

It said that the CBTPA is a preferential trade agreement that provides for duty and quota-free access for products manufactured in designated beneficiary Caribbean Basin region countries.

Eligible CBTPA countries include St Lucia, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The CBTPA, an expansion of the 1983 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), extended preferential tariff treatment to textile and apparel products assembled from US fabric that were previously excluded from the programmne.

The CBTPA was also intended to encourage the diversification of CBI countries’ economies, viewed by American policymakers as a key step towards economic development that would decrease the region’s dependence on aid and reduce illegal immigration into the United States as well as the trafficking of illegal drugs.

American lawmakers also hoped that CBTPA would send a signal to the other countries of the Caribbean basin and elsewhere of America’s commitment to promoting trade-expanding policies.

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