CAFTA to be signed

THE OFFICE of the U.S. Trade Representative says the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement would be signed May 28 at the Organization of American States in Washington. Ambassador Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative, will sign on behalf of the United States and trade ministers from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua will sign on behalf of their nations.

President Bush first announced his plan to negotiate an free trade agreement with Central America in a speech at the OAS in January 2002. Following the passage of Trade Promotion Authority and the successful conclusion of a yearlong negotiation, the president notified Congress on February 20, 2004, of his intent to enter into the CAFTA.

The United States has finished negotiations with the Dominican Republic to include that nation in the CAFTA, but a period of Congressional consultation on that agreement required under the Trade Act has not yet concluded. A date for signing an agreement that includes the Dominican Republic will be announced when those consultations are complete.

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