The United States Senate has approved CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. It is now up to the U.S. House of Representatives to give final approval to the free trade pact. If it is approved by the House, CAFTA will remove trade barriers between the United States and Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
"CAFTA," says President George W. Bush, "presents us with an historic opportunity to advance a free and fair trading system." CAFTA, Mr. Bush said, will help to strengthen democracy and advance prosperity in the Western hemisphere:
"For the young democracies of Central America and the Dominican Republic, CAFTA would continue the current trade benefits. That means good jobs and higher labor standards for their workers. And because of reduced tariffs on U.S. goods, consumers in these countries would have access to better goods at lower prices. And that brings us a step closer to our goal of an Americas where the opportunities in San Jose, Costa Rica, are as real as they are in San Jose, California."
"For the Western hemisphere," said President Bush, "CAFTA would bring the stability and security that can only come from freedom":
"Today, a part of the world that was once characterized by oppression and military dictatorship sees its future in democratic elections and free and fair trade, and we cannot take these gains for granted. These small nations are making big and brave commitments, and America must continue to support them. And CAFTA is a good way to support them. CAFTA is good for our workers, it's good for our farmers, it's good for our small business people -- but it's equally as good for the folks in Central America."
”One of the great economic achievements since the end of the Cold War," said President Bush, "has been the success of free and fair trade in raising up the world's poor, bringing hope to the world's hopeless, promoting freedom among the world's oppressed, and creating jobs." That is why CAFTA, is more than just a trade agreement. "It is," said President Bush, "a signal of the U.S. commitment to democracy and prosperity for our neighbors."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.