Haiti would receive U.S. trade support under Cassidy bill

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently proposed legislation that would extend duty-free treatment to imports from Haiti under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act.

“Families in Haiti are desperate following repeated natural disasters and unrest,” Sen. Cassidy said on Dec. 3. “Extending trade benefits is good for the U.S., provides the starving Haitian people with needed resources, and will help stem the exodus from the island.”

The Haiti Economic Lift Program Extension Act of 2021, S. 3279, which Sen. Cassidy cosponsored on Nov. 30 alongside bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), would reauthorize the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act and the Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, which together apply to almost 93 percent of Haitian exports to the United States. 

The HOPE Act, introduced in response to the 2005 economic downturn in Haiti, removes duties from Haitian apparel exports to the United States. The HELP Act, passed by Congress following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, expands the types of goods eligible for duty-free status, according to information provided by Sen. Cassidy’s staff. 

If enacted, S. 3279 would extend these programs through 2035 and would not add to the deficit, the information says.

U.S. Reps. María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Dec. 2 introduced companion legislation, the bipartisan H.R. 6136, in the U.S. House.