Cafta-dr Free Trade Commission

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Cafta-dr Free Trade Commission

Meeting of the Cafta-dr Free Trade Commission in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): The first meeting of the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Commission was held on February 22-23, 2011, in San Salvador, El Salvador. The parties released a joint statement at the conclusion of the meeting, excerpted below. The full text is available at (internet link) At the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Commission (FTC) meeting today, we celebrated the five year anniversary since El Salvador and the United States implemented the Agreement. Despite the economic challenges faced by the global economy in recent years, total (two way) trade between the United States and the Central American partners and the Dominican Republic grew from $35 billion in 2005 prior to the implementation of the agreement to $48 billion in 2010. Intra-regional trade among the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic increased from $4.2 billion to over $6.3 billion over the same period. Foreign investment flows in the region are even more remarkable. The average annual investment inflows into the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic in the first four years of the Agreement were $6.3 billion, or 123 percent higher than the $2.8 billion annual average during 2000-2005 before implementation.


To expand and broaden the benefits of the Agreement and support jobs in the U.S. respective countries, we agreed to cooperate on several new initiatives. We endorsed regional trade facilitation initiatives to foster greater regional integration, enhance competitiveness and expand the benefits of the trade agreement, with special attention to promoting greater participation by SMEs [Small and Medium-sized Enterprises].

We welcomed the inventory of trade facilitation projects prepared with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, which will facilitate future discussions and activities. We thanked the Inter-American Development Bank for the valuable support that it has provided thus far as part of this phase and we requested their continued support as we move forward with the second phase of this effort. Therefore, we instructed the U.S. senior officials to undertake a process of consultation with stakeholders and self assessments to identify remaining challenges and to share best practices, including policies, programs and practices that countries can adopt to facilitate trade.

We have identified initial cooperative actions in the context of the CAFTA-DR Trade in Goods and Technical Barriers to Trade Committees to be implemented in the short term. We look forward to identifying further cooperative endeavors and to receiving a report on progress at the next Free Trade Commission meeting.

Recognizing the essential role that SMEs play in creating jobs in all of the U.S. countries, we discussed ways to help SMEs take advantage of the export opportunities that the Agreement provides. One of the challenges that SMEs face is access to relevant information on the opportunities that the Agreement offers and how to pursue these opportunities. To help address this, we released a brochure entitled “Frequently Asked Questions About Opportunities for Small Businesses to Export in the CAFTA-DR Region”, a publication designed to answer basic questions for firms that are considering exporting for the first time. This document will be available on each of the U.S. websites in both Spanish and English.


Recognizing the critical importance of trade in agricultural products and the jobs and workers that are sustained by agriculture in all the U.S. countries, we formally established the Committees on Agricultural Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Matters as required by the Agreement. These committees will lead the way in promoting cooperation and communication between the U.S. countries on the implementation of the U.S. obligations so that the U.S. respective agricultural sectors can realize fully the opportunities offered by the CAFTA-DR Agreement.

More about the Issue

We approved a series of changes to the Agreement's rules-of-origin for textile and apparel goods that will facilitate regional trade and integration. These changes will expand opportunities under the CAFTA-DR Agreement and encouraging a vibrant textile and apparel supply chain in the Western Hemisphere to effectively face the challenge that Asian competitors represent._ We established four rosters of potential panelists for disputes that may arise under the Agreement concerning general matters, as well as under the labor or environment chapters or financial services provisions of the Agreement. We also established model rules of procedure for dispute settlement panels and a code of conduct for panelists to guide dispute settlement proceedings under the Agreement. We also agreed to increase the cumulation limits to encourage greater integration of regional production through limited reciprocal duty-free access with Mexico and Canada to be used in Central American and Dominican Republic apparel, as called for under the Agreement.


See Also

  • Trade
  • Commercial Relations
  • Investment
  • Transportation
  • Trade Agreements
  • Trade-Related Issues
  • Dominican Republic
  • Central America
  • United States
  • Free Trade Agreements

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