This week, three members of the Florida delegation brought out a bill extending the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which is currently set to expire in 2020, through 2030.
On Thursday, Florida’s two U.S. senators -- Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio -- unveiled the “Caribbean Basin Economy Recovery Act.” The proposal extends the CBTPA, which allows Caribbean countries aligned with the federal government in battling drug trafficking and with high labor standards to export goods containing American dyes and fabrics, into the U.S. duty-free.
The CBTPA was established back in 2000. Among the countries covered under the CBTPA are Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St. Lucia.
Nelson introduced the bill, which was then sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
“These trade programs are a lifeline for some of our closest allies, which also happen to be some of the poorest countries in the Caribbean,” said Nelson. “Extending this trade program not only helps provide stability in the region, it also helps the Florida businesses that rely on international trade.”
Rubio made the case on Thursday as to why he was championing extending the CBTPA.
“Extending these targeted trade preferences helps boost key American exports and solidifies fragile economies, like Haiti’s, in a crucial region for U.S. security,” said Rubio. “This bill will help reaffirm the U.S. commitment to developing deeper economic relationships with our regional allies, and supporting stable and democratic political institutions in the Caribbean.”
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., introduced a similar bill in the House last week with U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., as the chief sponsor on the Republican side.
This bipartisan legislation to promote U.S. trade with Caribbean island countries is needed as many islands begin to recover from the devastation of recent hurricanes,” Sewell said. “Economic growth in Alabama is one of my top priorities, and this bill represents a great opportunity to expand my home state’s trade with Caribbean basin countries. Reauthorizing CBTPA until 2030 and improving trade with countries like Haiti encourages future investment, promotes job creation, and lays the foundation for economic development for decades to come. Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked to build a stronger, more competitive U.S. economy and today’s bill takes a big step towards that goal.”