US House approves trade bill on textiles to help Haiti

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to give clothing and textiles from Haiti more access to the U.S. market.

US House approves trade bill on textiles to help Haiti

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to give clothing and textiles from Haiti more access to the U.S. market, a move aimed at helping the Caribbean nation rebuild from a massive earthquake.The bill, the result of a bipartisan deal struck last week by top lawmakers, now goes to the U.S. Senate for a vote. President Barack Obama is expected to sign it when it reaches his desk.The House approved the measure on a voice vote.The clothing sector accounted for 75 percent of Haiti's export earnings and employed more than 25,000 people before the Jan. 12 earthquake that left more than 300,000 dead.The bill makes it more attractive for clothing manufacturers to invest in new facilities in Haiti by extending and expanding the duty-free access to the U.S. clothing market under two separate programs.However, it is less generous than what former President Bill Clinton and his successor, former President George W. Bush, urged lawmakers to approve.Haiti already has duty-free access for most of the clothes it sells in the United States under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and a separate program for Haiti known as the Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Act (HOPE).A key provision of the bill approved by the House on Wednesday would increase the amount of certain Haitian knit and woven clothing products that qualify for U.S. duty-free treatment to 200 million square meter equivalents (SMEs), from 70 million currently.That increase would occur in any year that Haiti ships at least 52 million SMEs of the knit and woven product.But to provide a buffer for U.S. producers, the bill sets separate "sublimits" of 85 million SMEs for knit clothing and 70 million for woven apparel.Reuters

Last Mod: 05 Mayıs 2010, 20:19
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