Concerns of the textile and apparel industries of the nations in the Central America-U.S.-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) have been taken into account by the Obama Administration in the ongoing 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
In a letter to Dominican President Danilo Medina last month, President Barack Obama said that he had instructed the United States negotiating team to take into account the concerns regarding the negative impact that the TPP may have on the textile and apparel industries in the CAFTA-DR region.
The CAFTA-DR agreement is important for all member countries and the textile and garment industries of these countries share a long history of cooperation, Mr. Obama said in the letter. He added that the US negotiating team for the TPP recognizes the CAFTA-DR’s unique nature on regional economic integration.
The US negotiators are also mindful of the degree to which US suppliers are integrated with producers in the Dominican Republic, the letter said.
“I have instructed my negotiating team to take into account these considerations in the US’ approach in the negotiations for the TPP. Since our meeting in Costa Rica in May 2013, the United States representatives and trade officials have held extensive talks with all the ambassadors of the CAFTA-DR member countries on this topic; the Department of State and my staff of the National Security Council also met with their ambassador to discuss this issue,” Obama said.
Finally, he assured Mr. Medina, “We will continue to keep your concerns in mind as we move forward.”
The TPP is currently in the final stages of negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.
Last year, Mr. Medina had written to Mr. Obama on behalf of the CAFTA-DR countries expressing his concern about the likely negative impact that the TPP could have on the textile and clothing industry in the CAFTA-DR region. The CAFTA-DR region comprises of six Central American countries, viz. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, which have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.
In his letter, President Medina said the TPP could negatively impact the apparel industry in the CAFTA-DR region, if certain special concessions are given to the signatories, and it would change the direction and values of hemispheric and worldwide trade. He also expressed concern about the economic and social instability that could arise in the Central American region if the supply chain of textiles and apparel, which has been developed under the CAFTA-DR agreement, is altered.