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Monday, January 30, 2023



Oct. 6, 2001 – The Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to exclude rum from the scope of a new U.S. trade agreement with the Andean nations, thereby protecting the V.I. rum industry from new duty-free competition in U.S. markets.
The committee action "followed the recommendations and economic arguments presented" by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and Delegate Donna Christian Christensen at a hearing on the trade bill in May, a Government House release stated.
It said Turnbull also had provided the committee an economic analysis by a Washington, D.C., firm, the Law and Economics Consulting Group, of the potential negative impact to the territory's economy of including rum in the agreement.
The committee voted to exclude rum and textiles from the preferential trade benefits. The Andean Trade Preference Act covers the nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Turnbull said Reps. Phil Crane (R., Illinois), chair of the committee's trade subcommittee, and Charles Rangel (D., New York) led the effort on the territory's behalf. He also cited Christensen's leadership "in the fight to protect the industry, which last year generated more than $70 million in federal rum taxes that were returned to the territory's fiscal coffers," the release said.
The governor said the 2001 deadline has passed for nations to petition for duty-free treatment of particular products under the Generalized System of Preferences. While there had been speculation that the Philippines would submit a petition on rum, the release stated, it apparently decided not to do so.

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