Latin American Presidents Pitch CAFTA

Discussion
May 11, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Presidents from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua are in the nation’s capital today at the request of the Bush administration to help persuade lawmakers that the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) will benefit the American economy while promoting growth in their nations.

The trip by the Central American leaders to pitch Congressional leaders may be a first, Senate historian Donald Ritchie told The Associated Press, “We haven’t been able to come up with anything comparable to this. It is unusual for any head of state to lobby Congress, but even more unusual for a half dozen to do it.”

The Honduran president, Ricardo Maduro, said citizens in his and other countries needed to see that democracy works for all. “That means sustained, significant and equitable economic growth, and the only way we are going to be able to get that… is by having trading partners like the U.S. under systems like CAFTA,” he said.

Opponents of the agreement point to the already growing U.S. trade deficit and the loss of jobs to other countries where the nation has free trade deals in place as reasons for Congress to vote against CAFTA.

Moderator’s Comment: Should Congress approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)? If approved, what will the impact be on the domestic
retailing industry and consumers?

George Anderson – Moderator

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3 Comments on "Latin American Presidents Pitch CAFTA"


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M. Jericho Banks PhD
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M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

As the current largest consumer nation on the planet (China will overtake us), the U.S. represents a valuable marketplace for third-world countries. This relationship is even more important for Central American countries because of their proximity.

Free trade agreements give the U.S. a measure of economic power over trade partners, which allows us to export democracy. By displaying, through open commerce, our way of life to the populations of trading partner nations, we cause them to question domestic conditions that deny them the same lifestyle. Often, they question their own governments.

Supporters and opponents of NAFTA still cannot agree on its pluses and/or minuses for the American economy. If there were a huge, solid, undeniable, can’t-deny-it economic downside to NAFTA, its opponents would make sure we all heard about it. So far, so good, and I can only imagine that CAFTA would experience a similar development cycle. But, it might be more interesting to monitor the political changes caused by such agreements, rather than the economic changes.

Marilyn Raymond
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Marilyn Raymond
15 years 9 months ago

Short answer- Yes!

Eva A. May
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Eva A. May
15 years 9 months ago

We really need to start building stronger and more mutually beneficial relationships with our neighbors, especially those with emerging economies and democratic governments. Helping spur economic growth in developing Central and South American countries will enable more Latinos to live good lives in their home countries, without having to come to the US to build economic wealth.

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