Wednesday, June 22, 2005

NAFTA and CAFTA in the News

It turns out we might get a CAFTA-DR deal after all. At least as far as the important House Ways & Means Committee is concerned. On June 15, the Committee worked out a compromise bill to send to the House. Implementing legislation still needs to get through the full House and the Senate. This follows a June 14 informal poll of the Senate Finance Committee showing support for the pact. When passed, CAFTA-DR will eliminate tariffs on $33 billion in trade between the US and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The agreement will also increase sugar imports to the U.S. by 50% over 15 years making dentistry a growth industry.

NAFTA, on the other hand, is getting a minor make over. On June 21, the International Trade Commission announced a study into whether there should be adjustments to the rules for a bunch of sundry goods including cocoa and cocoa preparations; cranberry juice; ores, slag and ash; leather; cork and articles of cork; prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down, artificial flowers, and articles of human hair; glass and glassware; copper; nickel and articles thereof; lead; zinc and articles thereof; tin; other base metals; televisions; information technology agreement goods; and controls. Makers of chocolate covered wigs and leather televisions are lobbying hard for these changes.

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