Baucus Seeks Trade Preference Reform
Monday, March 15, 2010
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D‐Mont.) is leading
efforts for reform of US trade preference programs accorded to
Baucus, who convened a recent hearing to explore reform
options, urged meaningful change that will expand benefits for least
developed countries, add enforceable labor criteria and provide a
long‐term extension of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the
Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) and the Caribbean Basin Trade
Partnership Act (CBTPA), all of which will expire later this year
unless Congress extends them.
Originally established in 1974, trade preference programs give
developing countries duty‐free access to the US market for certain
products. The GSP program includes a variety of products from over 130
developing and least developed countries. ATPA, which Congress
established in 1991 to encourage Andean countries to diversify their
economies away from illicit drug production, provides Colombia, Peru,
and Ecuador with additional duty‐free benefits. CBTPA was established
in 2000 to provide additional duty‐free access to the US market for
certain textile and apparel products from eight Caribbean Basin
countries including Haiti.
“Successful reform means certainty," commented Baucus. "US companies
relying on these imports, investors and beneficiary countries need to
be sure US preference programs will remain in place over the long-term.
American companies need this certainty in order to make sound
investment decisions to grow and hire new workers."
“Successful reform also means meaningful and enforceable eligibility
criteria," added Baucus. "We must ensure that our preference programs
encourage strong labor standards, even as they improve economic
standards, and we must enforce the eligibility criteria systematically
and regularly. And successful reform means providing benefits to
countries that need them the most."
Baucus said that he will continue to work with Senator Grassley, the
finance committee's ranking Republican, and the House Ways and Means
Committee to pass legislation to provide additional trade benefits to
Haiti. He urged the United States to assist in Haiti’s earthquake
recovery efforts by creating additional incentives for investment in
Haiti’s apparel sector.