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Montevideo, August 7th 2022 - 15:51 UTC



Lame CAFTA becomes effective March 1

Friday, February 24th 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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The free trade agreement between United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic, CAFTA, becomes effective next March 1, with two months delay and involving only one of Latinamerican countries, El Salvador.

US Trade Representative Rob Portman officially recommended President George Bush to formally proclaim the implementation of CAFTA with El Salvador as of March first.

"Salvador is the first country to receive the recommendation", said Mr, Portman whose office at the end of December decided to extend the initial date of January first for another two months, to give time for the finalization of some laws and regulations.

Mr. Portman's office said that such postponements involving complicated trade negotiations was "not uncommon" adding that "we wish and hope to include all our other CAFTA partners soon; we're going to continue to work with them to ensure the right and complete implementation of the treaty".

Besides United States and El Salvador, the treaty has been ratified by the legislative branches of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic. Only Costa Rica is holding out following a still undecided and very tight presidential election with no definitive results yet, and since CAFTA was one of the main campaign issues the outgoing Congress decided to postpone the crucial vote.

El Salvador president Antonio Saca is scheduled to meet with President Bush in the White House for the formal signing of the agreement. Mr. Portman praised the advances achieved in several fields by El Salvador, a county which has become a close ally of the current administration; it's the only Latinamerican country with troops in Iraq.

"We're committed to this effort as true authentic partners and we are particularly grateful to the government of El Salvador for this historic event", emphasised Mr. Portman.

The remaining countries are negotiating the final implementation of the agreement which originally experienced a very strong opposition in United States and only passed Congress last July.

Other countries in the area which are holding talks for similar trade agreements with United States include Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.

Categories: Mercosur.

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