Groups Release Monitoring Report Assessing Impact of CAFTA


from Stop CAFTA website: Congressional Representatives Join Immigrant and Human Rights Organizations in Challenging Implementation of Central America "Free" Trade Agreement

Groups Release Monitoring Report Assessing Impact of CAFTA
Contact: Andrew de Sousa, 202-518-7638
August 12th, 2006

**For Immediate Release**

download the Stop CAFTA Coalition Monitoring report: "DR-CAFTA in Year One"

Washington DC, September 12: Members of Congress, solidarity organizations, leaders of the DC-area Salvadoran community, and student and faith-based groups held a press conference to announce the release of a report monitoring the effects of the US-Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) appeared and made a statement challenging the Bush administration�s current trade policy.

The 45-page monitoring report "DR-CAFTA in Year One" details the problems that have thus far been encountered during the implementation of CAFTA, as well as trends that are emerging related to textiles, agriculture, labor and other issues that were at the center of the CAFTA debate. According to the executive summary of the report: "The US Trade Representative has insisted on new concessions from Central American counterparts that go beyond items negotiated during CAFTA discussions", while "the process of rolling implementation has had negative consequences for the region and for the United States."

Many of the grassroots groups are members of the Stop CAFTA Coalition and the Alliance for Responsible Trade, which were active in 2004 and 2005 in raising awareness about the effects of "free" trade during the debate over CAFTA in the US Congress. Said Katherine Hoyt of the Nicaragua Network, "There has been no improvement of the human rights situation in Central America under CAFTA. Indeed, there is evidence that CAFTA and other neo-liberal reforms are increasing social conflicts and, in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the state is responding with increased violence."

The Stop CAFTA Coalition also presented eight core principles that the groups believe should be the basis of any trade agreement signed by the US government. Said Burke Stansbury of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), "only through drastically and fundamentally changing our model of trade and investment will we see economic justice in the Americas."

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation's oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, which vigorously opposed CAFTA, also attended and expressed their concern about the impacts of CAFTA, as well as their opposition to upcoming trade deals with the South American countries of Peru and Colombia.

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