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Small farmers wary of CAFTA

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

Small farmers wary of CAFTA

19 June 2006

Santo Domingo.- Whether the nation is ready or not, the 800-page DR-CAFTA treaty, replete with new rules and regulations, is set to become reality for the country.

So far only El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have become full-fledged members of CAFTA. Washington insists that Guatemala and the Dominican Republic must complete changes in their laws and regulations before becoming CAFTA members. Guatemala could be added sooner. The Costa Rican legislature has yet to ratify the accord.

CAFTA is expected to give small countries as the Dominican Republic and their textile sector long-term certainty about its exports to the United States. But the treaty brings uncertainty to farmers who will have to compete with cheaper subsidized U.S. products.

The threats to traditional crops, along with the risks and opportunities that will confront even the most modern parts of the economy, have made many farmers wary of the trade pact.