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provide more stability, strengthen security, decrease illegal immigration, and improve regional cooperation in efforts to fight drug trafficking. The CBERA as amended is also designed to help stabilize the region’s economies in the wake of devastating hurricanes in 1998, 2004 and 2008.
3.Circumstances justifying the waiver
The United States is committed to working in partnership with our close neighbours in the Caribbean Basin to improve livelihoods and expand economic opportunities through greater economic integration. In this effort, the Caribbean Basin countries have undertaken to strengthen their policy orientation to promote economic growth and to diversify exports. The CBERA as amended provides a vital U.S. contribution to the efforts in this partnership to achieve greater economic integration.
The United States is concerned that conditions of poverty and instability remain high in our neighbours in the Caribbean Basin, particularly in Haiti. Economic prospects for these small countries are further complicated by susceptibility to natural disasters, such as the major hurricanes that have affected the Caribbean Basin in recent years. In response, the recent extension and expansion of benefits under the CBERA as amended by CBTPA and the HOPE and HOPE II Acts is intended to further expand economic opportunities and contribute towards a more stable and prosperous region.
We note that our neighbour, Haiti, is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most susceptible to economic and political instability. The United States is working with Haiti on quick impact projects and has also developed regional programs in the Caribbean Basin to spur economic development and investment. An important element of the overall strategy is job creation and a long-term view to strengthen the capacity of Haiti’s government institutions; as well as the institutions of the smaller economies in the region.
The United States is committed to a strategy that will reinforce economic growth, security, good governance, and leadership in creating a climate where investors will be willing to take risks and bring jobs to Haiti and the Caribbean Basin region. In this light, the issuance of a waiver to allow Haiti and the region extended benefits under CBERA as amended is a critical step in enhancing prospects for a stable future.
Pursuant to Article IX:3 of the WTO Agreement, the United States requests Members to extend and expand the scope of the existing waiver of U.S. obligations under paragraph 1 of Article I, to the extent necessary to permit the United States to provide duty-free treatment to eligible products originating in beneficiary countries designated pursuant to the provisions of the CBERA. The United States requests Members to extend the waiver through 31 December 2014, and broaden it to waive U.S. obligations under paragraph 1 of Article 1 and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article XIII of GATT 1994, to the extent necessary to permit the United States to provide preferential tariff treatment to eligible products originating in beneficiary countries designated pursuant to the provisions of the CBERA as amended. A draft waiver decision is attached for consideration.
The United States requests the Council for Trade in Goods to give this application for a waiver expeditious and favourable consideration. In the meantime, the United States will promptly enter into consultations, on request, with any interested Member with respect to any difficulty or matter that may arise as a result of the preferential treatment provided under the CBERA as amended.