Administration pushing to add Central America to NAFTA-style agreement

| 2/25/2005

The Bush administration is preparing to push Congress for passage of CAFTA – the Central American Free Trade Agreement – The Associated Press reported Feb. 25.

The pact would bring six Central American nations and the Dominican Republic into the free trade zone created by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

U.S. officials reached an agreement with the seven nations in late 2003, but President George W. Bush has been unable to secure approval from Capitol Hill.

But ever since the agreement was reached, opponents of the new agreement have been lining up to take pot shots.

NAFTA, which has been in effect for a decade, has been the source of considerable controversy, including within the trucking industry. That agreement calls for allowing Mexican drivers free access to U.S. roads.

CAFTA would bring El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic into the free-trade zone.

The AP called CAFTA the “most significant multilateral pact” since NAFTA – and a key step toward an eventual goal of setting up a free-trade zone that would cover all of North America, Central America and South America.