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March 15, 2004

CAFTA Kafka

America breaks out the free trade monster - an exclusive agreement with the Dominican Republic. The jobs they are a-coming.

Isn't the Dominican Republic (yes) the little country that shares an Island with Haiti? Don't know what theat means - just saying, seems the Rove administration could've helped Aristide out with a little CAFTA love. You know, if they wanted to.

U.S. official: United States and Dominican Republic reach free trade agreement
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and the Dominican Republic have successfully concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement to remove virtually all barriers to trade between the two nations, a U.S. official said Monday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity [ed note - stop it with this shit. We don't need no stinking anonymity for such a weak-ass small story], said the United States had achieved all of its objectives in removing trade barriers for U.S. products in the negotiations which were wrapped up over the weekend.

The Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic becomes the eighth nation to negotiate a free trade deal with the United States since December as the Bush administration has aggressively pushed to use the authority Congress gave it in 2002 to strike free trade deals around the world.

However, with the loss of more than 3 million manufacturing jobs, trade has become a hot button political issue with Democrats charging that the administration’s free trade policies have been a failure that have exposed American workers to unfair competition from low-wage countries.

Opponents of Bush’s trade policies are vowing to block congressional passage of the deals in this election year.

The deal with the Dominican Republic was to be formally announced at a news conference between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Dominican Secretary for Commerce and Industry Sonia Guzman.

The agreement with the Dominican Republic was reached in hopes of attracting congressional support [???????] for a companion free trade agreement reached with five Central American countries. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, covers Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.

The administration has also struck recent free trade agreements with Australia and Morocco. The Bush administration contends that these free trade deals are good for the United States by tearing down foreign barriers to U.S. manufactured goods, farm products and services.

The administration is hoping that momentum generated from these deals will jump-start stalled negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, a hemisphere-wide free trade negotiation covering 34 nations. It is also hoping the individual free trade deals will reinvigorate the Doha Round of global trade negotiations being conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.

But opponents contend that the pursuit of free trade agreements by the administration has exposed U.S. workers to unfair competition from countries with lower wages and lax environmental protections.