The US government is to study Haiti's textile and apparel trade as part of a pledge to decide whether the country's exports qualify for benefits under the new HOPE legislation.

The investigation by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) is required under the recent Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE) agreement, which was enacted as part of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 and signed into law in December 2006.

The HOPE legislation grants US duty-free treatment to imports of qualifying textile and apparel from Haiti if the President determines that Haiti meets certain requirements set out in the statute.

The rules of origin are more flexible and last for a longer duration than under the current Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).

The new law also requires the ITC to update Congress on the impact of textile and apparel trade in Haiti, the US, beneficiary countries of the US-Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Act, and countries with which the US has free trade agreements.

The ITC will submit its report to Congress by 20 June 2008, and will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on 8 November 2007.