December 12, 2007
News Release 07-124
Inv. No. 332-496
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

ITC TO INVESTIGATE CARIBBEAN REGION ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission) has launched an investigation to review economic growth and development in the Caribbean region.

The investigation, Caribbean Region: Review of Economic Growth and Development, was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Ways and Means in a letter received on November 7, 2007.

In its request letter, the Committee noted that Caribbean economic development is important not only for humanitarian and political reasons, but because these countries are long-time economic partners of the United States. The letter notes that the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act will expire on September 30, 2008 (ending temporary trade preferences for imports of apparel, petroleum and petroleum products, and several other products not otherwise eligible for preferences under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA)).

The Committee requested that the Commission's report contain information that will assist the Committee in identifying the ways the U.S. trade and aid policy can most help the Caribbean Basin. In its request letter, the Committee noted the importance of economic development in the Caribbean region, and it also noted that, despite many successes, parts of the region still lack the economic development that will allow a wider population in CBERA countries to compete globally and become strong economic and political partners for the United States. The Committee expressed a need, in deciding on the best policy moving forward, to examine past successes and failures of the region's economic growth. The letter further notes that there are companies in the Caribbean that have found creative ways to use the region's strengths to overcome its constraints and compete successfully in the global market, and that their success may suggest ways that U.S. policy can best assist the region.

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide an in-depth description of the current level of economic development in the Caribbean basin at the regional level and the country level. The country level overview will include country profiles of the 18 CBERA countries that are not part of the Dominican Republic - Central American Free Trade Agreement. The ITC will also provide an overview of the economic literature on potential Caribbean development and will summarize the literature assessing the direction of future Caribbean development.

The ITC will submit its report to the Committee by May 7, 2008.

The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on January 29, 2007. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed with the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, and must be received no later than 5:15 p.m. on January 16, 2008.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, at the above address and should be filed at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 5, 2008. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of this investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated December 11, 2007, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000.

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 subject 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 requester. General factfinding investigations reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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