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IDB sponsors dialogue between the public and private sectors of CAFTA-DR member countries

Thanks to the agreement, trade among the partners grew 23 percent last year

Ministers and Vice Ministers of Commerce from member countries of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) participated January 24th in the CAFTA-DR Public-Private Sector Dialogue on Trade Facilitation in Miami, Florida. At the meeting, supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the countries’ representatives agreed to adopt important measures aimed at facilitating trade in the region. 

The Public-Private Dialogue is part of the CAFTA-DR Trade Facilitation Initiative, launched in El Salvador in February 2011 and supported by the IDB. The Initiative aims to foster greater regional integration, improve competitiveness, and expand the benefits of the Treaty, with special attention to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are often at a disadvantage because of technical deficiencies in customs procedures, logistics impediments, as well as lack of infrastructure – a situation that prevents the full utilization of the opportunities offered by free trade accords. 

“We have instructed our senior officials to meet by the end of the second quarter of 2012 to consider the adoption of three concrete projects and their roadmap for implementation and express our interest in continuing to receive the IDB’s support in their identification and implementation”, the representatives of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, U. S. Deputy Trade Representative, said in a joint statement. 

CAFTA-DR, which was approved in 2004 and went into force in stages over the next five years, is a free trade agreement between the United States and five Central American countries, as well as the Dominican Republic. Thanks in part to the treaty, trade among the partners grew 23 percent over the past year, increasing from $44 billion during the first eleven months of 2010 to $54 billion in the same period of 2011. 

Bill Johnson, Director of the Port of Miami, Patrick Kilbride, Senior Director for the Americas at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and high level executives from the region attended the event, including the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT), the Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises in Central America (CENPROMYPE), and companies such as Hanesbrands Inc., DHL, FedEx, and UPS, among others.