U.S. talks bring Dominican Republic into CAFTA fold
The Bush administration has successfully negotiated comprehensive trade agreement with the Dominican Republic and has integrated the Caribbean country into its recently concluded Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
The free-trade agreement with the Dominican Republic opens markets and phases out tariffs for U.S. shippers, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.
The Bush administration informed Congress of its intent to integrate the Dominican Republic into CAFTA in August 2003. CAFTA will now include seven countries in addition to the United States and Dominican Republic: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Together these countries represent $32 billion in goods trade.
The Dominican Republic is the largest beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), a trade preference program in place since 1984 that provides duty-free access to products from qualifying countries in the region.
“Recognizing the importance of the economic relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as the critical role that CBI has played in both countries’ economic development, the administration will work with the Congress to ensure that this agreement will allow Haiti to continue to receive Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Act for apparel containing Dominican inputs,” the USTR said in a statement.