On May 14, 2019, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) is holding a public hearing in connection with the preparation of its 24th biennial public report on the Caribbean Basin Economic Reform Act (CBERA) which grants duty-free access into the United States for products from the Caribbean. The report will cover trade during calendar years 2017 and 2018 and will be transmitted to Congress and the President by September 30, 2019. The Commission seeks witness testimony, which can be presented orally or submitted in writing.

CBERA encompasses several other pieces of legislation, notably the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), and the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act. Both pieces of legislation, among other things, grant preferential treatment to apparel and textile products from eligible Caribbean countries.  The benefits under both provisions are currently set to expire in September 2020. Legislation has been introduced to extend but is still pending.

Testimony and submissions from companies that rely on the provisions of CBTPA and HELP would be particularly timely and helpful in supporting the passage of legislation extending these provisions, and perhaps even making them permanent. HR 991, for example, proposes an extension until September 30, 2030. What products and in what volume are imported into the United States in reliance on these provisions. How is your business impacted by the possible expiration of the provisions? Would an extension until 2030 be adequate?

Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed with the Secretary no later than 5:15 p.m., May 3, 2019, in accordance with the requirements provided here. All pre-hearing briefs and statements should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m., May 8, 2019. In lieu of or in addition to participating in the hearing, interested parties are invited to file written submissions concerning this investigation no later than 5:15 p.m., June 3, 2019. If as of the close of business on May 6, 2019, no witnesses are scheduled to appear at the hearing, the hearing will be canceled.