US Apparel Imports From Haiti Surge 46%

Apparel imports into the US from Haiti soared by 46% in the first eight months of this year, thanks in part to tariff benefits under the US Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).

In the Ninth Report to Congress on the Operation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, the office of the US Trade Representative said the CBI continued “to generate important benefits for the beneficiary countries”.

Haiti, which has benefited from a number of pieces of tariff-reducing US legislation in recent years, became the second leading source of US imports entering under CBI tariff preferences in 2009, when Costa Rica left the CBI.

More than 90% of the country’s exports to the US are apparel, with most of this benefiting from US legislation on tariff reduction.

Apparel imports from Haiti at preferential rates were up 46% in the January to August 2011 period, following a period of just 0.7% growth in 2010, which was severely impacted by the January 2010 earthquake.

Adding that imports had risen by 26% in 2009 as beneficial Acts of Congress took effect, the report notes that Haiti is now responsible for “virtually all” imports of apparel from CBI countries.

Total US imports from CBI countries were up 7.4% to US$10.1bn in 2010, but well down on 2008’s figure of $19.5bn.

However, Costa Rica’s loss of beneficiary country status in 2009 accounted for $3.9bn of the $10.1bn decline from 2008 to 2009.

The report concludes that US engagement with the Caribbean Basin through the CBI “offers an important opportunity to foster the active participation of countries and dependent territories in the region in various initiatives to promote trade liberalisation”.


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