Free trade creates jobs and investments
The American CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement with Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua has been recently reviewed to evaluate the benefits for the contracting parties. The conclusion free trade gains momentum and creates jobs and investment.
All parties involved confirmed the opportunities resulting from CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement for the local businesses, farmers, ranchers and workers in those countries.
Trade volume between the USA and its Central American partners has been growing from USD 44 billion in the first eleven months of 2010 to USD 54 billion or by 23 % in the same period of 2011. The intra-regional trade among Central American countries and the Dominican Republic increased 18 % to 3.8 billion in the first half year of 2011. The participants confirmed that the agreement enhanced the competitiveness of these countries in the global market place.
At the meeting in Washington, D.C. some amendments of the Agreement’s rules of origin for textiles and clothing as well as for non-textiles and non- apparel goods were agreed upon. It was confirmed that progress was made on updating the CAFTA-DR rules of origin to be in line with the 2012 changes in the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature based on experts’ suggestions. It will ease customs administration for customs authorities, producers and exporters when the changes are signed within 60 days.
Also some new initiatives took place at the meeting to extend the benefits of the agreement to small to medium size companies and to create new jobs in the respective countries and in applying best practices to assist such firms by creating development centres for these entities with the aim to offer a linking on online trade assistance and information portal and to facilitate contacts between small to medium sized American counterparts. In addition the International Development Bank (IDB) has assisted in developing a CAFTADR textile and apparel sourcing directory to enhance communication and sourcing between buyers and manufactures in the region thus encouraging integrated supply chains, growing regional textile trade and assisting producers to make use of the benefits of the agreement and to increase the competitiveness of the regional industries.