The Stabroek Business has seen a media release issued by the Guyanese-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) urging governments and private sector groupings in the region to take immediate action to help influence United States congressional approval of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) “for at least another ten years” once it expires on September 30th, 2020.
Extension of the Act, which has been in place since 2000 will reauthorize the extension of the US Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) which provides for the duty-free and quota–free importation of goods from the region into the United States. The facility is intended to offset the long-standing and continually growing imbalance in US/Caribbean trade.
The statement notes that an examination of the benefits that have been gained by Caribbean territories under the Act would show that there have not been significant acrruals to Guyana and urges enhanced efforts on the part of the business communities in the US and Guyana to seek increased benefits from the Act.
”The private sector and the Government of Guyana should be exploring ways to have barriers to exports to the US reduced if not removed so as to facilitate increased exports of Guyanese products,” the statement says, adding that there also needs to be “more dedicated efforts on the part of all CARICOM member states as a collective to lobby for the removal of protectionist policies in the US especially with regard to the export of rum and textiles from the region.” Further, the statement alludes to the need for Guyana to address “structural and policy weaknesses at home.”
Meanwhile, AMCHAM is urging closer US/Caribbean collaboration under the provisions of the US/Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act which seeks to exploit US interest in enhanced relations with regional governments, the Caribbean diaspora, the governments of the Caribbean, the private sector, and civil society.