October 3, 2007
News Release 07-102
Inv. No. 332-227
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

CAFTA-DR COUNTRIES LEAVE CBERA, ITC FINDS REDUCED IMPACT

The value of U.S. imports receiving benefits under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) fell from $12.3 million in 2005 to $9.9 million in 2006, mainly because four Central American countries El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua left the CBERA when the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force during 2006, reducing the impact of the CBERA on U.S. industries and consumers, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently issued its 18th report in a series monitoring imports under the CBERA. The CBERA program, operative since January 1, 1984, affords preferential tariff treatment to most products of 24 designated Caribbean, Central American, and South American countries, 20 of which were CBERA beneficiaries for all of 2006.

The ITC report covers the impact of the CBERA on the United States, with particular emphasis on calendar year 2006. The CBERA requires the Commission to prepare a biennial report assessing both the actual and the probable future effects of the CBERA on the U.S. economy generally, on U.S. industries, and on U.S. consumers. The CBERA was amended in 2000 by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which broadened the scope of products eligible for the tariff preferences, in 2002 by the Trade Act of 2002, which clarified and modified the CBTPA, and in 2006 by the HOPE Act of 2006, which enhances benefits for Haiti for a five-year period. The CBTPA also instructed the Commission to report on the impact of the overall preference program on the beneficiary countries themselves.

Following are highlights of the report, The Impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, Eighteenth Report, 2005-2006:

The Impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, Eighteenth Report, 2005-2006 (Inv. No. 332-227, USITC Publication No. 3954, September 2007) will be available on the ITC's Internet server at www.usitc.gov. The publication will also be available at federal depository libraries in the United States. A CD-ROM or printed copy of the report may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requestor. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requestor for national security reasons.

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