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Free trade deal on tap

Cay Compass, Cayman Islands

Free trade deal on tap

5 March 2007

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) - The Caribbean Community intends to negotiate a free trade agreement with Central America perhaps within the next six months, the organization’s top official says.

The decision came after a two-day meeting in Belize in late February involving trade ministers from the two regions, said Edwin Carrington, secretary-general of the 12-member Caribbean Community, or Caricom.

"The agreement is to negotiate the talks as quickly as possible," Carrington told The Associated Press.

Carrington said negotiators have suggested modeling the pact on one that Caricom signed with Costa Rica several years ago, with only minor modifications. The Costa Rica deal covers hundreds of items including juices, construction materials and leather.

Caricom did not specify which Central American countries would be involved.

The Caribbean and Central American currently trade in products such as vegetables and beef.