October 16, 2003
News Release 03-099
Inv. No. 332-227


The overall effect of imports under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) on the U.S. economy and consumers continued to be negligible in 2001-2002, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission in its publication The Impact of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, Sixteenth Report 2001-2002.

But given recent changes in the preference program with Central American and Caribbean trading partners, future effects in the textiles and apparel sector could be significant, according to the report.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently issued the report, which monitors imports under the program. 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.

The ITC report covers the impact of the CBERA on the United States, with particular emphasis on calendar year 2002. 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, and in 2002 by the Trade Act of 2002, which clarified and modified the CBTPA. 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, Sixteenth Report 2001-2002 (Inv. No. 332-227, USITC Publication No. 3636, September 2003) will be available on the ITC's Internet site at www.usitc.gov. The publication will also be available at federal depository libraries in the United States and on a future edition of the Department of Commerce's National Trade Data Bank. A printed or CD-ROM version 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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