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Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act: Impact on U.S. Industries and Consumers and on Beneficiary Countries, Twentieth Report 2009-10

Investigation No. 332-227
USITC Publication 4271


The overall effect of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) on the U.S. economy continues to be negligible, while the effect on U.S. consumers and beneficiary countries is small but positive, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its most recent report monitoring imports under the program.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently issued its 20th 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 18 designated Caribbean and South American countries.

The USITC found:

  • Imports benefiting from CBERA fell sharply in 2009 before rebounding strongly in 2010, according to the report. The drop can be mostly attributed to the exit of Costa Rica from CBERA and the U.S. recession and its effects on the demand for imports and on commodity prices. The U.S. recovery led to higher demand for imports, including imports benefiting from CBERA, and most commodity prices rebounded. CBERA trade preferences continue to benefit Haiti’s apparel sector and to encourage the development of niche products elsewhere in the region.

  • The overall effect of CBERA-exclusive imports (imports that could receive tariff preferences only under CBERA provisions) on the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers continued to be negligible in 2010.

  • Imports under the CBERA program continued to fall from their peak of $12.3 billion in 2005, reaching $2.4 billion in 2009 and $2.9 billion in 2010, reflecting the exit of six CAFTA-DR countries from CBERA.

  • The Commission finds that investment for the near-term production and export of CBERA-eligible products is not likely to result in imports that would have a measurable economic impact on U.S. consumers and producers.

  • Exporting CBERA-eligible goods is a challenge for many CBERA beneficiaries because of their supply-side constraints. The economies of many CBERA countries have become more oriented to international trade in services, rendering CBERA trade preferences for exports of goods less relevant to their economic future.

The USITC’s report is now available at:

Also available on CD-ROM and in print; call 202.205.2000 for more information.