U.S. farm group warns Dominican Republic tax threatens trade pact
The American Farm Bureau Federation told the Bush administration it would not likely support the implementation of a free-trade agreement with the Dominican Republic unless the Caribbean country removes a recently implemented 25 percent tax on soft drinks containing imported high fructose corn sweetener.
Under the current agreement structure, U.S. exports of high fructose corn sweetener to the Dominican Republic would not receive duty-free access for 15 years.
“By placing a tax on top of those provisions, the Dominican Republic has jeopardized a free-trade agreement our negotiators worked hard to secure,” said Farm Bureau president Bob Stallman in a letter to U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick this week.
“This new tax not only violates the Dominican Republic’s obligations under the WTO (World Trade Organization) but also undercuts the principles of the FTA (free-trade agreement) and calls into question that nation’s willingness to comply with the terms of the agreement,” Stallman said.