[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congresswomen Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) have introduced legislation to reauthorize the Haitian Hemisphere Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act and the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would ensure that the benefits of both these critical programs are maintained until 2035.
The Haitian Hemisphere Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, introduced as a response to an economic downturn in Haiti in 2005, removes duties from Haitian apparel exports to the United States. The Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, passed by Congress following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, broadens the types of goods eligible for duty free status to over 5,000 types of apparel and footwear. Together, HOPE and HELP apply to roughly 93 percent of Haitian exports to the U.S. and employs more than 56,000 Haitians. Apparel factories in Haiti are a crucial source of stable economic employment in the country.
“I am incredibly proud to be a lead co-sponsor of the Haiti Economic Lift Program Extension Act, which will help boost the Haitian apparel industry’s economic stability and is sorely needed in a nation where there is so much economic and political insecurity,” said Congresswoman Wilson, who represents one of the largest Haitian communities in the United States. “Apparel exports represent a significant portion of the nation’s exports and have created tens of thousands of jobs. This extension will create even more.”