Retailers Support HOPE/HELP Trade Preference Program

On July 11, RILA joined the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), National Retail Federation (NRF), and Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), in a letter to leadership of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees calling for the immediate and long-term reauthorization of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Acts, commonly known as HOPE/HELP. The letter also calls for the renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The HOPE/HELP trade preference program allows duty free access for certain apparel products from Haiti. The letter argues that, despite the many challenges the country faces, HOPE/HELP has allowed Haiti to build a thriving garment sector. The HOPE/HELP preferences are currently set to expire on September 30, 2025. The letter urges Congress to renew the HOPE/HELP program for at least another ten years.

The letter states that the long-term renewal of HOPE/HELP is critical for continued operations in the region. The factories and buyers that have remained in the country need the certainty of a long-term reauthorization of the program to incentivize them to stay in Haiti.  The letter also cites the Administration’s call for lawmakers to take action to provide Haitian workers with certainty through uninterrupted continuation of the HOPE/HELP program.

In addition to providing employment and stability in a country facing many economic and humanitarian challenges, HOPE/HELP furthers Congress’s goal of nearshoring manufacturing, including apparel production. But that nearshoring cannot happen without the certainty of a long-term reauthorization of the program.

According to a December 2022 report by the U.S. International Trade Commission, most U.S. imports from Haiti use HOPE/HELP (67.9 percent) and the U.S. is Haiti’s most important trading partner, with about 80 percent of Haiti’s goods exports sent to the U.S. After the HOPE/HELP programs were implemented, U.S. apparel imports from Haiti quadrupled from $231 million in 2001 to $994 million in 2021.

We urge Congress to move legislation reauthorizing the HOPE/HELP program for at least ten years, as well as the renewal of the GSP and AGOA programs, as soon as possible.

For more information on this topic, please reach out to RILA Vice President, International Trade Blake Harden.
  • International Trade
  • Supporting Free Markets and Fostering Innovation

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