What Is The Central American Free Trade Agreement

The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement. The agreement originally covered the United States and Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and was called CAFTA. In 2004, the Dominican Republic joined the negotiations and the agreement was renamed CAFTA-DR. Why has CAFTA, like U.S. trade agreements before and after, failed to reduce widespread labour abuses? Kim Elliot, a member of the U.S. Free Trade Agreements` U.S. Free Trade Agreements, recently proposed this statement bluntly: the working provisions of U.S. trade agreements „are included because they are necessary to get congressional business.” She added: „This is really about policy, not how to raise labour standards in these countries.” The parties recognize that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent. In Chapter 9, they reaffirm their commitment to multilateral environmental and labour contracts and principles and commit to imposing their level of protection. There is a separate provision for trade in forest products. Arbitration procedures do not apply to this chapter. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a regional agreement reached in December 2003 between the United States and five Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The Dominican Republic was included in the agreement in March 2004.

The Bush administration is currently working to secure CAFTA`s support in Congress. Where a dispute over effective or proposed national regulation cannot be resolved after a 30-day consultation, the matter may be referred to a body of independent experts selected by the parties. Once the panel proceedings are complete, a report will be prepared by the panel. The parties will attempt to resolve the dispute on the basis of the panel`s report. In the absence of an out-of-court settlement, the complainant may suspend commercial benefits equivalent to those it considers to be affected or affected by the measure at issue. In the event of litigation in both the CAFTA-DR and the WTO agreement, the complainant may choose one of the two forums. [9] The United States