Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The House Approves CAFTA

Reuters and the New York Times are reporting that the House of Representatives has just approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement (“CAFTA”) by a vote of 217 to 215. The Senate already approved the pact last month by a vote of 54 to 45. Once implemented, CAFTA will eliminate most barriers to trade and investment between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

As the Washington Post pointed out on Monday, CAFTA is expected to increase the gross domestic products of both the United States and its Central American trading partners. The agreement will also have a positive impact on American exports:

Today, 80 percent of exports to the United States from CAFTA signatories (Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic) already enter duty-free. Most U.S. products imported by CAFTA nations, however, face relatively high tariffs; CAFTA would immediately eliminate these tariffs on 80 percent of U.S. exports to CAFTA partners. The American Farm Bureau enthusiastically embraces CAFTA, projecting an increase in farm exports (wheat, potatoes, corn, soybeans, pork, poultry, beef and produce) of $1.5 billion per year.

It may interest NLT readers to know that the U.S. Department of Commerce is predicting that CAFTA will specifically benefit Ohio exporters, including manufacturing industries. This would be consistent with Ohio’s overall post-NAFTA experience, whereby the State’s exports to Mexico and Canada more than doubled.   

Discussions - 3 Comments

I would just like to point amid all the rhetoric shot out by 215 members of the house. The National Association of Manufacturers declares cafta as a huge winner for American Manufacturers. Considering that this organization primary responsibility is to promote manufacturing in the U.S., I think their analysis goes a long way in this arguement. (

I was also disappointed in the number of Republicans that voted against this bill. It seems to me that all of the evidence and research points to passage of this bill and can only wonder why so many people voted against it. (special interests?????)

I am interested to hear what other people think about the situation.

"As our manufacturing base erodes, as our industrial base erodes, we have a president who is contributing to the further erosion of that base," Pelosi said.

Hmmmmmm, is this Political Rhetoric. The Ohio Association of Manufacturers, the National Asssociation of Manufacturers etc. etc. all say this will help them grow and keep them competetive. So how exactly is Pelosi making any sense????

The assosciation of American manufacturers surely has members who outsource - a study of member corporations might even reveal that a majority do so. I couldn’t prove that, since they do not list their contributors on their website. But until I know how much money they recieve not from the small shops they quote in their membership section, but from GM, GE and the like, I will have a hard time taking them at face vale. All legislation effects someone’s "special interest." that does not mean that there is not principled opposition to "free" trade. For the record, I am ambivalent on CAFTA, not against it.

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