Central American Free Trade Agreement would open markets for U.S. goods, benefit consumers

WASHINGTON — Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) today endorsed legislation that would implement the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and urged Congress to pass it without exemptions for favored commodities, including sugar.

The agreement continues the Bush Administration’s policy of trade liberalization by creating a free trade area involving the United States, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras.

“It is time to implement CAFTA. This agreement benefits taxpayers by increasing product choice and lowering prices,” said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington, DC, “Furthermore, the accord opens competitive market opportunities to American workers and producers, which otherwise would go to China.”

CAFTA has the potential to make the United States the lead supplier of goods and services to an area boasting a market of 45 million people and trade totaling over $33 billion. When implemented, 80 percent of U.S. exports to CAFTA nations will immediately become duty-free.

“This is the most important free trade agreement since NAFTA and shouldn’t be brought down by a small group of elite sugar farmers, who would rather see the rest of the agricultural industry suffer, than compete in the market,” added Mr. Norquist, “Congress needs to act quickly to enact CAFTA.”