Revising DR-Cafta requires the support of all parties

The 22 chapters of the free trade agreement signed by five Central American countries, the United States and the Dominican Republic (the DR-Cafta) require by obligation the approval of all members to be reviewed, because it is a multilateral agreement assumed by the Latin American countries as a bloc (group of nations).

That is, with regard to the accusations of producers so that the Dominican Government assumes that position because The time has come for rice, chicken and other food items that have already completed more than 20 years of the commitment to eliminate customs tariffs and enter the free market in 2025.

The Multilateral agreements such as the DR-Cafta are established in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and no member, therefore, can unilaterally restrict imports of products subject to tariff reductions, nor import goods originating from others to export them to other markets because it would fall into “triangulation”, which is also sanctioned in the WTO.

However, any of the members who feel seriously impacted due to large import volumes that exceed the capacity of the country of destination, may notify the parties of its intention to be granted a safeguard to a certain commodity.

Also, you can appeal to articles 34 and 37 of the Vienna Convention, on multilateral treaties, which does not prevent a norm from becoming obligatory and allows modifications in mutual relations.

The Farm Law may also be revised. In 2002, the United States, like Europe, promised to eliminate agricultural subsidies, which has not happened. Therefore, there are legal instruments that do not require a request for a DR-Cafta renegotiation.

Petition of producers
Almost 20 years after the signing of the agreement, the Dominican rice and chicken producers demand that the Government review the treatyin view of the fact that they will consider themselves affected by massive imports of these goods produced at very low cost, generally subsidized in the United States, as they affirm.

During the start of the treaty, the U.S. government provided the members of the Central American region and the Dominican Republic with technical assistance known as “Trade Capacity Building” so that producers could prepare themselves and suggested applying associativity to facilitate agricultural competitiveness.

The treaty provides for a period of 25 years for products protected under the ICC or CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) that entered free with the arrival of China to international trade in 2005, and that also covers the eight of the Technical Rectification (rice, sugar, beans, corn, garlic, onion, powdered milk and chicken meat), achieved through the Agriculture Agreement.

What applies is to request a safeguard
The agreement allows for revision, as long as everyone agrees, however, so far there is no known request from the Government to call for a renegotiation, but instead it is sought that the United States accept a safeguard, a measure that does contemplate the treaty bilaterally with its members.

It is not convenient for the Dominican Government to request a review of the DR-Caftadue to the general implications, because they will have to seek the support of the Central American bloc, present the agreement to the National Congress again and submit to giving something in return to the United States.

The treaty establishes that the tariff schedules of Annex 3.3 of each country are applied multilaterally, except for 14 products with a differentiated tariff treatment between the DR and Central America. These are: chicken, powdered milk, onion, garlic, beans, coffee, rice, wheat flour, sugar, beer, alcohol, tobacco, edible oils, and lubricating oils.

The safeguard is contemplated in article 3.15 and the country has used it. Article 3.18 establishes the agricultural commission 14 years after the agreement.

In force
The agreement signed by the bloc of countries on August 5, 2004 and ratified by the DR in 2005 has been in force for customs purposes since 2006 when El Salvador put it into force as the first of the five Central American countries (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala).

10 year study
A study on the DR-Cafta, by the PUCMM, concludes that the “missing link” of the DR is the absence of productive development policies that contribute to economic activities taking advantage of the expansion of access to export markets that the agreements imply commercial.

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