Friday 30 October, 2020

US extends CBERA trade agreement with T&T

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

A trade agreement which ensures favourable duty treatment for some of Trinidad and Tobago's products to the US has been extended to 2030, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said. 

In a statement, the Ministry said on October 10, US President Donald Trump signed legislation extending preferential duty treatment for certain goods produced in the Caribbean Basin under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) until 30 September 2030.

The CBERA, which was implemented on January 1, 1984, is intended to facilitate the development of stable Caribbean Basin economies by providing designated beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the United States market for most goods.

Trinidad and Tobago has been a beneficiary since inception which has allowed for duty-free access of selected commodities into the US market and the trade preference was due to expire on September 30, 2020.

The Ministry said legislation to renew the CBERA was introduced in the United States Congress during the 116th Congress (2019-2020) due to the active lobbying efforts of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

'Various CARICOM Missions were led to Washington, including a Trinidad and Tobago Mission led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who met with various Congressional leaders, where this and other matters of mutual interest and benefit were raised.'

In addition, the Ministry said Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador Anthony Phillips-Spencer and the CARICOM Ambassadors in Washington DC 'must be commended for their persistent engagement to lobby for the extension'.

The Ministry said the work of the lobbying firm, the Group DC has also been instrumental in providing strategy and support to the Government.

The legislation was passed in both Houses of the United States Congress in September 2020 with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

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