USTR Releases Biannual Report to Congress on the Caribbean Basin Initiative

January 21, 2022

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has presented to Congress the Fourteenth Biannual Report on the Operation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The report is statutorily mandated by Congress and describes the main features of the program, analyzes trade trends, and outlies each country’s performance related to the CBERA program’s eligibility criteria.
“The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports CBERA, which encourages the development of strong democratic governments and builds economic ties with our valued trading partners in the Caribbean region,” said Deputy United States Trade Representative Jayme White. The program provides opportunities for economic recovery and inclusive trade, and USTR is committed to encouraging its greater use by beneficiary countries.”
Highlights from this report include:

  • U.S. imports under the CBI tariff preferences increased to $1.2 billion in 2020 from $1.1 billion in 2019. U.S. export growth to the region has been a corollary benefit throughout the history of the program; however, exports decreased during this reporting period likely due to disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The CBI continues to have a positive impact on a number of Caribbean Basin economies, including encouraging the development of niche product manufacturing, such as polystyrene from The Bahamas and fruit juice from Belize.
  • The last edition of this report published in 2019 included data on rates of utilization of the program by beneficiary countries. Several products that were not claiming the duty-free benefit were mentioned. There have been notable improvements since then, including an increase in utilization from one third to 100 percent of plastic household goods from The Bahamas and an increase from 4 percent to 100 percent of measuring instruments from St. Kitts and Nevis.
  • Haiti’s apparel exports to the United States maintain one of the highest utilization rates of CBI preferences. Approximately 95 percent of Haitian exports to the United States are apparel exports. Private sector associations estimate that, thanks to the CBI preference programs, over 54,000 garment factory jobs have been created in Haiti as of the end of calendar year 2020.

Click here for the complete report.