Dominican Republic Closer to Joining Regional Trade Pact

June 18, 2004

TOP trade officials from CentralAmerica, the United States and theDominican Republic traveled to Miami,Fla., this week to discuss the final detailsfor the Dominican Republic to become theseventh country to be part of the CentralAmerican Free-Trade Agreement(CAFTA) with the United States.“We have great interest in DominicanRepublic’s participation in this free-tradeagreement,” said Anabel González, headCAFTA negotiator for Costa Rica. “Fromthe Costa Rican perspective, theDominican market offers multiple and variedopportunities for national producersand is an excellent opportunity to modernizethe rules that govern our trade.”Between January and March, theUnited States negotiated DominicanRepublic’s inclusion in CAFTA.Dominican Republic accepted the 22 chaptersof the normative portion of CAFTA.However, relations between theDominican Republic and countries ofCentral America, which already have afree-trade agreement, had not been notdefined.THE purpose of the meetings is toextend CAFTA’s trade privileges multilaterally– so they apply reciprocally betweenall seven countries, González explained.The main issue on the negotiating tableis defining the type of market access thatCentral American countries will receivefor products that were excluded from theCentral America-Dominican RepublicFree-Trade Agreement, such as dairy,chicken, pork, rice and some textile products.If the negotiations are successful, thetrade ministers of the seven countries willsign CAFTA again (TT, June 4), this timewith the Dominican Republic.After that, each country would beresponsible for submitting the treaty to itslegislative body.CAFTA will be submitted to CostaRica’s Legislative Assembly during thesecond half of July, according to González.

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