Senators Nelson, Rubio file bill to extend Caribbean trade program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) filed legislation on Thursday, October 5 to extend a trade program designed to benefit several Caribbean nations, including Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St. Lucia.

The legislation, which is intended to strengthen economic ties and further U.S. interests in the region, extends the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which was established in 2000 to allow certain Caribbean countries to export goods made with U.S. yarns, fabrics and threads into the U.S. duty-free.

Under current law, CBPTA’s preferential trade treatment for these Caribbean countries is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2020. The bill Nelson and Rubio filed today would extend the program through Sept. 30, 2030.

U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) file bill to extend Caribbean trade program

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“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.” Nelson said. “Extending this trade program not only helps provide stability in the region, it also helps the Florida businesses that rely on international trade.”

To be eligible for preferential trade treatment under CBTPA, participant countries are required to uphold strict labor standards and help further other various U.S. interests in the region, including countering narcotics trafficking and ending government corruption.

A similar, bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last week by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Terri Sewell (D-AL).

The legislation now heads to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

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