Friday U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman made a recommendation that President Bush issue a proclamation to implement the Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement for El Salvador as of March 1, 2006.
El Salvador is the first country to receive this recommendation from USTR. El Salvador was the first to ratify in December 2004. Nicaragua was the most recent, in September 2005. Costa Rica has not yet ratified the agreement.
"We have worked closely with El Salvador over the past several months to ensure its legislative and regulatory regime reflects the obligations and responsibilities set forth in the CAFTA-DR agreement," says Portman. "We have engaged in this effort as true partners, and I appreciate all of the hard work the Government of El Salvador has undertaken to help us reach this historic milestone.
Portman says USTR hopes and expects that it will be able to bring additional CAFTA-DR partners into the agreement soon.
The United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua signed the CAFTA-DR in August 2004. Implementing legislation for the CAFTA-DR passed the U.S. Senate in June 2005 and the House of Representatives in July 2005 and was signed by the President in August 2005.