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February 10, 2008 

House Bill Introduced to Extend ATPA, CBI and GSP Benefits Until 2010

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) last week introduced H.R. 5264, the Trade Preference Extension Act of 2008, a bill that would extend three trade preference programs scheduled to expire this year.

H.R. 5264 would would extend the following trade preference programs until September 30, 2010:

  • Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) – Expires on February 29, 2008. ATPA was enacted in 1991 to combat drug production and trafficking in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The program offers trade benefits to help these countries develop and strengthen legitimate industries. ATPA was expanded under the Trade Act of 2002 and is now called the Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. ATPA provides duty-free access to U.S. markets for approximately 5,600 products.
  • Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) – Expires on September 30, 2008. The following nineteen countries benefit from Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) : Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles,Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) – Expires on December 31, 2008. GSP provides preferential duty-free entry for more than 4,650 products from 143 designated beneficiary countries and territories. H.R. 5264 also addresses a number of issues with the textile provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the competitive need limitation waiver provisions of GSP.
The renewal of ATPA benefits is particularly important to Peru and Colombia, countries that the U.S. has entered into free trade agreements with. However, the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), which was passed by both countries in 2007 will not take effect until both countries adopt the appropriate implementing regulations. While it has typically taken approximately eight months for the U.S. to implement most other free trade agreements after they were passed into law, reliable sources have indicated that the U.S.-Peru TPA will not take effect until January 1, 2009. The U.S. Congress has not yet passed the U.S.-Colombia FTA and prospects for its passage in Congress this year look dim . Renewing ATPA benefits for Bolivia and Ecuador have faced resistance in Congress because of the anti-U.S. actions both countries have taken in the past few years.

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