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Public Papers - 1989

Memorandum on the Caribbean Basin Initiative

1989-11-17

Memorandum for the Vice President and Members of the Cabinet

Subject: The Caribbean Basin Initiative

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) provides important trade and investment benefits to our friends and neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean. This is an area of major strategic importance to the United States. This Nation's security and prosperity depend in large measure on continued progress toward democracy and economic development in that region.

I am proud to note that the CBI is now a driving force behind much of the economic vitality that is becoming evident throughout the region. The peoples of the Caribbean Basin nations have joined with the United States in an economic partnership; they look to us for continued support for their efforts in fostering economic growth and development.

I affirm the CBI's importance for achieving a more prosperous, democratic, and stable Caribbean Basin. The people of this region regard enhancement of the CBI program as a high priority. This is an objective which I enthusiastically support. I call on the Congress to act quickly to pass balanced legislation to extend and expand the CBI program in a way that is consistent with U.S. obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

In addition, I believe that we ought to examine all avenues currently at our disposal to ensure that the program achieves its goals as fully and as effectively as possible. I therefore call on all relevant departments and agencies to identify those actions which they can undertake, within existing budget constraints, to improve the operation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative. CBI countries should continue to enjoy special and more liberal treatment under our textile import program. The CBI program's effectiveness should be enhanced through appropriate assistance to investors, traders, and entrepreneurs in the region. I ask that all such efforts be coordinated through the Caribbean Basin Task Force, chaired by United States Trade Representative Carla A. Hills.

George Bush

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