The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) is a programme created between the United States and countries in the Caribbean Basin to facilitate the economic development and export diversification in the Caribbean region. The CBI was originally launched in 1983 through the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), and later expanded in 2000 through the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).

On March 24, 2009, the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved the long standing waiver request from the United States (US) on the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The approval of the waiver, which will remain valid until 2014, provides the legal authorization for CARICOM, including Belize, to export goods covered under CBERA to the US duty-free.

The CBTPA entered into force on October 1, 2000, and will continue in effect until September 30, 2010.

Prospects for a free trade agreement between CARICOM and US are still in exploratory discussions among CARICOM Heads of Government. It is expected that when CARICOM completes its negotiations with Canada, negotiations with the US for a FTA will commence.

Market Access

The CBI is not a trade agreement, but rather, a non-reciprocal grant of preferences (one way trade) in which most of its beneficiaries including Belize export duty free. Access to the U.S. market for most goods includes textiles, apparel andother goods made in the 24-country CBI region.

Belize’s exports under the CBI programme amounted to over $26.4 million. The leading foreign exchange earners are petroleum, frozen orange juice, papayas, and shrimp. Table provides a snap shot of Belize’s main exports to the US by volume and revenue. (View table).

Rules of Origin

CBI Rules of Origin require that importers wishing to take advantage of CBI market access preferences meet one of the following criteria:

  1. The imported product must be wholly grown, produced, or manufactured in one or more countries of the region; OR
  2. The import must be a “new or different” article made from substantially transformed non-CBI inputs, and with the cost or value of CBI materials and direct costs of processing totaling at least 35% of the appraised customs value at the time of entry.