Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on Implementation of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act

December 1, 1983

Late yesterday the President designated eleven countries (Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago) as the beneficiaries of the rights and privileges accorded under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act. The governments of these countries have, on behalf of all the citizens living under their jurisdiction, demonstrated to the United States Government a determination to accelerate economic progress in this hemisphere and to see the rewards of that progress bring a better life for all in this hemisphere.

These eleven countries will begin enjoying the benefits of the act on January 1, 1984. After that date these governments will have unencumbered duty-free access to the U.S. market on terms that recognize our important goal of increasing commercial exchange between our countries and within the hemisphere generally. The United States is also now prepared to extend to these nations special tax advantages which can benefit tourism and other sectors of their economy.

The President has been particularly gratified by the bipartisan support which the Caribbean Basin Initiative has received in the United States. Through the democratic process our people have been able to express their sympathy for the needs and aspirations of their neighbors in the Caribbean. The President shares with all Americans a deep feeling of pride in the continuation and, in its way, a new beginning of our friendship with the peoples of the Caribbean Basin.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the statement during his daily briefing for reporters, which began at 12:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.