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gwp/center-concern-regrets-passage-dr-cafta

Center Of Concern Regrets Passage Of DR-CAFTA

Global Women's Project | Thu, Jul 28, 2005

"The Center of Concern deeply regrets the passage of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) by the U.S. Congress last night in a narrow vote of 217 to 215.

Despite staunch opposition by people of faith, women, workers, public health advocates, small farmers, students, and indigenous in all six DR-CAFTA countries, the Bush Administration and Republican leadership have favored the interests of a narrow minority at the expense of many."
The Center of Concern deeply regrets the passage of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) by the U.S. Congress last night in a narrow vote of 217 to 215.

Despite staunch opposition by people of faith, women, workers, public health advocates, small farmers, students, and indigenous in all six DR-CAFTA countries, the Bush Administration and Republican leadership have favored the interests of a narrow minority at the expense of many.

The Center of Concern affirms the centrality of the dignity of the human person, especially the marginalized and most vulnerable. As such, the human impact of any trade agreement must be central to the debate. The DR-CAFTA passed last night places economic profits before the interests of the everyday men and women workers and their families in the U.S., Dominican Republic and Central America.

DR-CAFTA entrenches an economic model that will further empower transnational corporations and their profit maximization. It is not surprising that an agreement negotiated and developed in secret and with extensive input from business interests will benefit precisely those interests.
  • DR-CAFTA investment provisions replicate NAFTA Chapter 11 and will undermine national sovereignty and local democratic processes by allowing foreign corporations to challenge legitimate state regulation of the environment, economic development, etc;
  • DR-CAFTA fails to include adequate measures to ensure environmental improvement throughout the region and to correct the serious labor rights abuses existing in Central America, the Dominican Republic and the U.S, particularly with respect to women worker's rights;
  • DR-CAFTA's rules on government procurement could threaten the right and authority of state and local officials to decide the conditions under which state tax dollars are spent;
  • DR-CAFTA's rules on agriculture, like those in NAFTA, privilege agribusinesses that promote export-led food production, threatening small farmers and rural economies across the region;
  • DR-CAFTA's chapter on intellectual-property rights [IPR] threatens the health and well-being of persons in the region by restricting production and access to generic, life-saving medicines.


While the passage of DR-CAFTA is a great disappointment in our efforts to promote economic and social justice, this is not the end of the struggle for just trade and economic relations that promote social and economic development for all members of society. Greater public awareness of the severe weaknesses of the corporate driven model for development and, more perhaps importantly, alternative economic arrangements, has been generated.

For more information, see:

Gender and CAFTA, a factsheet explaining the gender dimensions of the trade agreement.

CAFTA Hill Drop, a compilation of resources from the members and allies of the U.S. Gender and Trade Network.  

 (PDFs listed below)