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Caribbean Basin Initiative

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) was a unilateral and temporary United States program initiated by the 1983 Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The CBI came into effect on January 1, 1984, and aimed to provide several tariff and trade benefits to many Central American and Caribbean countries. It arose in the context of a U.S. desire to respond with aid and trade to leftist movements that were active in some countries of the region, such as the guerrillas in El Salvador and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Provisions in the CBERA prevented the United States from extending preferences to CBI countries that it judged to be under the influence of Communists or that had expropriated American property.

The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Expansion Act of 1990, known as "CBI II", made the CBI permanent. However, once the United States entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 with Mexico it became easier for Mexico to export its products to the United States. CBI countries had lost their advantage relative to Mexico, a major competitor in industries such as textiles and apparel, so they sought to increase their own preferences and achieve "NAFTA parity". Those efforts were not successful until the 2000 Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act, which was broadened in 2002. Several exports from the region continue to receive preferential status in the United States, however those preferences will likely be replaced by bilateral free trade agreements, and possibly by the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Further information

  • Caribbean Basin Interim Trade Program: CBI/NAFTA Parity. CRS Issue Brief for Congress. Updated January 12, 2005. [1]
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative, CBI page [2]
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, CBI page [3]
  • U.S. Department of Treasury, CBI page [4]
  • U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, CBI page [5]
  • A contextual macro-analysis of media in the Caribbean in the 1990s
  • The Caribbean Basin Initiative: An Examination of Structural Dependency, Good Neighbor Relations, and American Investment. Michael Cornell Dypski. Journal of Transnational Law and Policy. Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 95–136. [6]
  • Overview of CBI from AllRefer.com [7]
  • El Salvador Trade & Investment [8]
  • Costa Rican Ministry of Commerce [9] (in Spanish)
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