Summary: H.R.984 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (03/13/2000)

Caribbean and Central America Relief and Economic Stabilization Act - Title I: United States-Caribbean Trade Partnership - Subtitle A: Trade Provisions - United States-Caribbean Trade Partnership Act -Amends the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) to accord, for a specified period, the same tariff and quota treatment (duty-free or reduced duty treatment, free of any quantitative limitations) given certain textile and apparel articles (including those imported from North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries) to such articles from CBERA partnership countries, or beneficiary countries (other than Central American countries) planning to become parties to NAFTA, or a comparable free trade agreement. Subjects to certain penalties exporters that engage in the transshipment of such articles (preferential treatment claimed on the basis of material false information concerning the country of origin, manufacture, processing, or assembly of the article or any of its components).

(Sec. 104) Directs the Commissioner of Customs to analyze and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to report to Congress on the extent to which partnership countries have cooperated with the United States with respect to the circumvention of existing quotas on imports of textile and apparel goods, and taken appropriate measures against circumvention violators (including exporters and importers involved in false information declarations relating to such goods).

(Sec. 105) Directs the President to: (1) monitor the effects, if any, that implementation of NAFTA has on the access of beneficiary countries to the U.S. market for sugars, syrups, and molasses; and (2) in the event such implementation is adversely affecting such countries' access to the U.S. market, to take specified action to ameliorate such adverse effect.

(Sec. 106) Grants duty-free treatment to rum liqueurs and spirituous beverages from Canada if certain conditions are met.

(Sec. 107) Directs the President to convene a meeting with the trade ministers of the partnership countries in order to reach agreement for initiating negotiations for partnership countries to accede to the NAFTA.

(Sec. 108) Directs the USTR to assess, and report to specified congressional committees on, the economic development efforts and market oriented reforms in each partnership country, and the ability of each country, on the basis of such efforts and reforms, to undertake the obligations of the NAFTA.

Subtitle B: Revenue Offset - Amends the Internal Revenue Code with respect to the exemption from certain requirements for treatment of welfare benefit funds of any welfare benefit fund which is part of a ten or more employer plan. Limits such exemption to funds: (1) whose only benefits are medical, disability, group term life insurance with no cash surrender or other specified cash value, or any combination of them; and (2) which do not maintain experience-rating arrangements with respect to individual employers. Stipulates that, if any portion of such a welfare benefit fund attributable to employer contributions is used for a purpose other than that for which the contributions were made, then such portion shall be treated as reverting to the benefit of the employers maintaining the fund (and thus becoming subject to specified nondeductibility requirements).

Subtitle C: Suspension of Limitation on Cover of Tax on Distilled Spirits - Suspends between June 30 and October 1, 1999, the limitation on the cover over into the treasury of Puerto Rico of the tax on distilled spirits coming into the United States from Puerto Rico. Requires the treasury of Puerto Rico to make a Conservation Trust Fund transfer of each cover over payment for such period, which shall be treated as principal for an endowment whose income shall be available for use by the Trust Fund for the purposes for which it was established.

Title II: Foreign Assistance for Central America and the Caribbean - Subtitle A: Microcredit and Agricultural Assistance - Directs the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) to use credit and microcredit assistance to provide disaster assistance to rehabilitate agriculture production in the hurricane-affected areas of Central America and the Caribbean.

(Sec. 203) Authorizes the Administrator of AID to utilize relevant foreign assistance programs and initiatives for the Central America and Caribbean region to support private producer-owned cooperative marketing associations there, including rural business associations owned and controlled by farmer shareholders.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Administrator of AID to develop a comprehensive plan to coordinate and build on the research and extension activities of U.S. land-grant universities, international agricultural research centers, and national agricultural research and extension centers in Central America and the Caribbean.

(Sec. 205) Provides assistance through the nonemergency food assistance programs of the Agriculture Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 to the hurricane-affected Central American and Caribbean areas.

Subtitle B: Overseas Private Investment Corporation - Expresses the sense of Congress that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) should foster U.S. private investment and enhance the ability of private enterprise to make its full contribution in the hurricane-affected areas of Central America and the Caribbean.

Subtitle C: Economic Support Fund Assistance - Authorizes appropriations for reconstruction and disaster mitigation assistance for the areas of Central America and the Caribbean affected by Hurricane Mitch and Hurricane Georges. Earmarks specified amounts for operating expenses of AID.

(Sec. 222) Authorizes appropriations to reimburse the international disaster assistance account for expenses incurred with respect to such assistance provided to the affected areas of Central America and the Caribbean.

Title III: Department of Defense - Authorizes appropriations for: (1) replenishment of the Department of Defense (DOD) accounts used in providing disaster relief and reconstruction to the hurricane-affected areas of Central America and the Caribbean (earmarking amounts for replenishment of operation and maintenance and military personal accounts, the Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid account, and the Commanders in Chief (CINC) Initiative Fund); and (2) the New Horizons Program (earmarking amounts for expanding National Guard and Reserve exercises in Central American countries and the Dominican Republic).

Title IV: Immigration and Naturalization Service - Authorizes appropriations for Enforcement and Border Affairs within the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to: (1) support increased detention requirements for Central American criminal aliens held in detention by the INS; and (2) address the expected influx of illegal immigrants from Central America.

Title V: Debt Rescheduling and Reduction for Honduras and Nicaragua; Funding for Central American Emergency Trust Fund of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Subtitle A: Debt Rescheduling and Reduction for Honduras and Nicaragua - Authorizes the President to reschedule the repayment of interest on, and (subject to specific appropriations) reduce the amount of, indebtedness owed by the Honduran and Nicaraguan governments to the United States. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Authorization of Funding for the Central American Emergency Trust Fund of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Amends the Bretton Woods Agreements Act to authorize the U.S. Governor of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), subject to specific appropriations, to contribute $25 million on behalf of the United States to the Central American Emergency Trust Fund.