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PRESS RELEASE: CARICHAM requests Extension of CBERA

by: - June 1, 2019
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The Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM) is pleased to announce that we have submitted a letter to the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on 28 May 2019, requesting an extension of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).

The communication was submitted by the Chairperson of CARICHAM, Ms. Lizra Fabien, on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce from beneficiary countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The CBTPA is due to expire in September 2020 and the World Trade Organization (WTO) MFN waiver is due to expire in December 2019. The Chambers of Commerce from the beneficiary countries have requested that the United States government gives favorable consideration to an extension of the CBERA/CBTPA in light of the importance of the Act to many industries in the Caribbean region.

The purpose of the submission was to highlight the Caribbean’s perspective on the economic impact of the CBERA/CBTPA. The letter was submitted to USITC in connection with the preparation of its 24th biennial report to Congress and the President of the United States of America under section 215 of CBERA.

This communication has acknowledged the importance of the United States as CARICOM’s largest trading partner and noted that Caribbean exports to the US market have been limited to a small range of products. This framework has undoubtedly contributed to the sustainability of key industries in the Caribbean such as fisheries, agriculture and agro-processed goods, rum, energy products and textiles to name a few. Also, the preferences obtained have contributed to economic sustainability, growth, employment and poverty reduction in several Caribbean small open economies.

Additionally, the beneficiary Chambers have also requested that consideration be given to the expansion of the existing framework to promote trade in services, transfer of technology, investment and improved collaboration between Chambers of Commerce.

Our Chairperson Ms. Lizra Fabien stated that “we believe that this submission will strengthen the advocacy from our region in the extension and possible expansion of the Act.”