Pols push to extend Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act

Pols push to extend Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act|Pols push to extend Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida answers questions from the press as he visits the state legislature during session.
Associate Press / Steve Cannon

Three Florida legislators in Congress have tabled legislation extending the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), which is set to expire in 2020.

United States senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio, on Thursday unveiled the “Caribbean Basin Economy Recovery Act.”

The proposal extends the CBTPA, which allows Caribbean countries aligned with the United States federal government in battling drug trafficking and with high labor standards to export goods containing American dyes and fabrics into the United States duty-free, according to the Sunshine State News. The CBTPA was established in 2000.

Nelson introduced the bill, which was then sent to the United States Senate Finance Committee, Sunshine State News said on Saturday.

“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.”

Rubio said that “extending these targeted trade preferences helps boost key American exports and solidifies fragile economies, like Haiti’s, in a crucial region for United States security.

“This bill will help reaffirm the United States commitment to developing deeper economic relationships with our regional allies, and supporting stable and democratic political institutions in the Caribbean,” he said.

Alabama Democratic Congressman Terri Sewell also introduced a similar bill in the United States House of Representatives last week, with Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo as the chief sponsor on the Republican side, Sunshine News said.

“This bipartisan legislation to promote United States trade with Caribbean island countries is needed as many islands begin to recover from the devastation of recent hurricanes,” Sewell said.

“Economic growth in Alabama is one of my top priorities, and this bill represents a great opportunity to expand my home state’s trade with Caribbean basin countries,” he added.

Sewell said that reauthorizing CBTPA until 2030 and improving trade with Caribbean countries encourage future investment, promote job creation, and lay “the foundation for economic development for decades to come.

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked to build a stronger, more competitive United States economy, and today’s bill takes a big step towards that goal,” he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Associated Press / Jae C. Hong, File

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