WASHINGTON -- In the midst of Senate debate over the GATT Uruguay Round, advocates of broadening trade benefits for the Caribbean launched their 1995 effort Wednesday.

Sen. Bob Graham (D., Fla.), predicted that if GATT passes the Senate today, it would be easier to achieve parity with Mexico in the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries. "Passage of GATT will reaffirm U.S. confidence in its ability to compete," he said at a press conference.

Graham, along with Rep. Sam Gibbons (D., Fla.), said they plan to reintroduce their interim trade plans for Caribbean countries early next year when the 104th Congress convenes. The bill would give apparel exports from the Caribbean the same duty-free treatment given those from Mexico.

"The most important trade preferences given the Caribbean have been undercut by the North American Free Trade Agreement, especially in the apparel area," Graham said. The parity plan has been pushed by many U.S. apparel companies who have established strong sourcing in the Caribbean under 807 programs.  - Fairchild News Service

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