Preferential-Trade Treatment Urged for Haiti

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 2, 2006 ( An official of the U.S. bishops’ conference has asked Congress to pass meaningful trade-preference legislation for Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

Orlando’s Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the episcopate’s Committee on International Policy, wrote to the chairman and members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to secure passage of the legislation

In a letter dated Feb. 24 to Representative William Thomas, chairman of the House committee, the bishop wrote: “Last week, the Haitian people took important electoral steps toward a more open and democratic society.”

“In light of this significant development, we believe enacting meaningful trade legislation will offer Haiti genuine hope for economic recovery and political stability,” the Florida prelate continued. “Progress on the political front can be secured only if there is genuine progress in achieving a decent living for the masses of the Haitian people.

“And this in turn depends heavily on foreign investment so that the once vibrant apparel industry might return. We look forward to working with you in the future to explore further measures that offer hope for the long-term stability that Haiti’s people so desperately need and truly deserve.”