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T&T Benefits from Duty-Free Access to US

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TRINIDAD and Tobago will continue to benefit from duty-free access to the United States market under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA).

On October 10, US President Donald Trump signed into law, legislation extending preferential duty treatment for certain goods produced in the Caribbean Basin under the CBERA until September 30, 2030.

The CBERA, which was implemented on January 1, 1984, is intended to facilitate the development of stable Caribbean Basin economies by providing designated beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the United States market for most goods.

Trinidad and Tobago has been a beneficiary since inception which has allowed for duty-free access of selected commodities into the US market. The trade preference was due to expire on  September 30, 2020.

In a media release issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the ministry stated that legislation to renew the CBERA was introduced in the United States Congress during the 116th Congress (2019-2020) due to the active lobbying efforts of the Government in collaboration with Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

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The ministry stated, “Trinidad and Tobago’s relationship with the USA is a vital part of the country’s overall trade, as the USA is our top export and import partner. According to the United States Trade Representative’s 2019 Report on the Operation of CBERA, Trinidad and Tobago has been the leading exporter to the US under CBERA since 2005. Trinidad and Tobago exported US$ 551.8 million to the US in 2018, which represents an increase of 13.1% over its value in 2017.”

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“The main exports to the US were methanol (US$ 449 million) and petroleum and petroleum-related products (US$ 55.4 million). In addition, the top energy exports to the US in 2019 including liquefied natural gas (LNG), anhydrous ammonia, urea and methanol accounted for approximately TTD$ 8.6 billion. Trinidad and Tobago’s top non-energy products to the US in 2019 including rum, aerated beverages, sugar confectionery, sauces and biscuits accounted for approximately TTD$ 55 million,” the ministry added.

In 2019, over 36% of Trinidad and Tobago’s total exports and 51% of the country’s non-energy exports were consumed in the USA. Over 200 firms exported duty free to the US, generating foreign exchange earnings and employment. The continuation of the CBERA preferences forms a key part of Trinidad and Tobago’s economic recovery strategy as the Government seeks to reset the economy for growth and innovation, the ministry stated.

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