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Washington Outlook Archive
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Associations Seek CAFTA Implementation Changes

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Three major trade associations representing textile manufacturers, cotton producers and importers are urging the Bush administration to modify implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). The administration has been pursuing “rolling implementations” of the agreement in order to ensure that participating countries can live up to agreement terms.

In a letter to the USTR and the secretary of commerce, the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the National Cotton Council and the National Council of Textile Organizations expressed their concern that the rolling implementation will disrupt trade with countries that already participate in the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act.

In order to avoid problems during the transition period, the associations called for the Caribbean Basin preference agreement to remain in effect until DR-CAFTA becomes fully implemented, and for countries that accede to the DR-CAFTA to be able to fully avail themselves of the DR- CAFTA rules of origin during the period of rolling implementation.

If these actions are taken, the associations believe companies sourcing in the region will be assured they will not be saddled with new costs as the DR-CAFTA is being implemented. 

March 7, 2006