H.R. 5160: Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010

H.R. 5160

Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010

Sponsor
Rep. Charles B. Rangel

Date
May 5, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 5160 is expected to be considered on May 5, 2010, under suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on April 28, 2010. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 5160 would amend the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act by expanding duty-free tariff treatment through the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership, the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act, and the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act. 

This measure provides access to the U.S. market for Haitian textiles and apparel exports and extends these existing trade programs for Haiti through 2020. 

Wholly Assembled Articles:

This bill provided duty-free treatment for wholly assembled or knit-to-shape apparel that originates from Haiti, without regard to the source of the fabric, fabric components, or yarns from which the article is made.

Tariff Preference levels:

H.R. 5160 increases the respective tariff preference levels from 70 million square meter equivalents (SMEs) to 200 million SMEs, which allows certain Haitian knit and woven apparel products to receive duty-free treatment regardless of the origin of inputs. This increase would be triggered once 52 million SMEs of Haitian apparel enter the U.S. under the existing tariff preference level.

If the SMEs increase is triggered, certain apparels entering duty-free under the knit tariff preference level would be subject to an 85 million SMEs sublimit, while certain woven products would be subject to a 70 million SME sublimit.

Verification of Transshipment for Certain Apparels:

This bill requires the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to verify that apparels articles imported into the U.S. are not being unlawfully transshipped into the U.S.  If the Commissioner reports to the president regarding unlawful transshipments, the bill authorizes the president to reduce the tariff preference levels to account for the unlawful transshipments. 

Earned Import Allowance Rule:

This measure amends the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act by permitting the duty-free importation into the U.S. of one SME of apparel wholly assembled or knit-to-shape in Haiti regardless of origin of inputs for every two SMEs of qualifying fabric purchased from the U.S.

Extension of Value-Added Rule:

This bill extends the rule that provides duty-free treatment to apparel wholly assembled or knit-to-shape that originates in Haiti with at least 50 percent of the value from Haiti, the U.S., a U.S. free trade agreement partner, or combination thereof, until December 20, 2015.

In addition, the bill extends duty-free treatment for Haitian apparel with at least 55 percent of value from qualifying countries until December 20, 2017, and extends duty-free treatment until December 20, 2018 for Haitian apparel with at least 60 percent value from qualifying countries.

Wire Harnesses:

H.R. 5160 provides duty-free treatment for wire harness automotive components imported from Haiti until December 20, 2016.

Customs Support Services:

This measure requests the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to send a rapid response team to Haiti to assess technical, capacity-building, and training needs of the authorities of the Government of Haiti responsible for customs services.

It also requests the relevant federal agencies to provide assistance, as warranted, particularly with respect to:

  • Reestablishing full capacity for commercial port operations at the seaport at Port-au-Prince;
  • Facilitating trade between the U.S. and Haiti under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, as amended by this act;
  • Preventing unlawful transshipments of goods through Haiti to the U.S.; and
  • Strengthening cooperation between customs authorities of the U.S., Haiti, and Dominican Republic with respect to trade facilitation and economic development, customs compliance and law enforcement, and efforts to combat unlawful trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The bill authorizes to be appropriated $100,000 to meet immediate infrastructure needs of the authorities of the Haitian Government responsible for customs services; and $750,000 for each fiscal year 2011 through 2020 to maintain a U.S customs team in Haiti.

Background

On January 12, 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude 7.0 struck the country of Haiti.  The number of persons killed is expected to be greater than 200,000, and it is estimated that nearly one-third-or three million people-of the entire population has been directly impacted by the disaster.  The recovery process continues to be hindered by the devastation caused to the country's infrastructure, including its airport, ports, and roads.

Prior to the disaster, Haiti was ranked 149 out of 182 countries on the U.N Human Development Index-it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 

On April 26, 2010, Congress passed the Haiti Debt Relief and Earth quake Recovery act, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to request U.S. officials coordinate the cancellation of Haitian debt at all multilateral financial institutions. 

In addition, Congress passed H.R. 4462 on January 21, 2010, which allowed individuals making donations to Haitian relief in the early part of 2010 to be a claimed deduction on their 2009 tax returns.

 

Cost

A CBO score for H.R. 5160 was not available as of press time.