May 05, 2010

Lugar calls for quick passage of the HELP Act

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) today co-sponsored the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act of 2010, S.3275, to provide additional tariff benefits to certain Haitian textile and apparel imports in order to create jobs and sustainable revenue streams for the impoverished country. An identical bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives.
 “I have supported earlier versions of this legislation and am pleased to join as a co-sponsor of the HELP Act because it will lead to job creation in Haiti. Empowering people to help themselves is the best approach to foreign assistance,” Lugar said. “Positioning Haiti to emerge as a partner in trade and not only a recipient of aid is in our nation’s interest. Strengthening its private sector is a key factor if this goal is to be realized.” 
The HELP Act increases the tariff preference levels under which certain Haitian knit and woven apparel may enter the United States duty-free regardless of the origin of the inputs, as well as extending the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act and the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act until September 2020.
The HELP Act complements legislation earlier introduced by Sens. Lugar and Pat Leahy (D-VT) that would lead to the establishment of the “Haitian-American Enterprise Fund,” with a grant of $100 million, to focus on strengthening the broader private sector in post-earthquake Haiti.
Lugar hopes to build on the successful passage of the Haiti Debt Relief and Earthquake Recovery Act of 2010, legislation he originally authored along with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), that was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama.
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