CAFTA Resources

Experts | Analysis | CAFTA Country Governments | International Institutions| Civil Society

This January, the United States and the nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua officially launched negotiations on the U.S.- Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). For the region and people of Central America, CAFTA's impacts will unquestionably extend beyond trade and investment liberalization to critical issues of economic development, environmental protection, human and worker rights, and democratic governance.

CAFTA Negotiating Timeline - click on dates for news summaries & related documents

Jan. 27-30, Costa Rica
Feb. 24-28, Cincinnati, U.S.
Mar. 31- April 4, El Salvador
• May 12-16, Guatemala
• June 16-20, Honduras
• July 28-Aug. 1, U.S.
• Sept. 8-12, Nicaragua
• October 20-24, U.S.
• December 8-12, Washington, D.C.

* CAFTA negotiations are scheduled to conclude by Dec. 2003, after nine rounds of talks.


Carnegie Experts

John Audley is a senior associate and director of the Trade, Equity, and Development Project. Before joining the Endowment, Mr. Audley was the trade policy coordinator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 1999.
Sandra Polaski is a senior associate with the Trade, Equity, and Development Project. She was formerly the Special Representative for International Labor Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity, she was the lead negotiator on labor issues for the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.
Scott Vaughan recently joined the Trade, Equity, and Development Project as a visiting scholar. He previously served as head of trade, economics, and environment at the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Moisés Naím is editor of Foreign Policy magazine. He has written extensively on the political economy of international trade and investment, multilateral organizations, economic reforms, and globalization. He is the author or editor of eight books, numerous essays, professional articles and his opinion columns are regularly published in the world’s leading newspapers.


Carnegie Publications

Carnegie scholars show how the CAFTA can be structured to benefit Central American workers, enhance environmental protection, and invigorate the regional economy - while providing opportunities for firms and investors.

Environment and Trade: The Linchpin to Successful CAFTA Negotiations? Issue Brief by John Audley, July 2003.

How to Build a Better Trade Pact with Central America, Issue Brief by Sandra Polaski, July 2003. Also en español: Cómo Concertar un Mejor Tratado Comercial con América Central (PDF).

"Central America and the U.S. Face Challenge-and Chance for Historic Breakthrough-on Workers' Rights," Issue Brief by Sandra Polaski, Feb. 2003. Also en español (PDF).

"Opportunities and Challenges to Advance Environmental Protection in the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Negotiations," Issue Brief by John Audley, Feb. 2003. Also en español (PDF).

More Time Needed to Develop an Appropriate U.S. Environment Proposal, a letter to USTR by John Audley, May 2003.

Recommendations for the CAFTA Environmental Review, a letter to USTR by John Audley and Vanessa Ulmer, Jan. 2003.

Trade and Labor Standards: A Strategy for Developing Countries, Carnegie Endowment Report by Sandra Polaski, Jan. 2003. Also en español (PDF).

    Click here for additional viewpoints on the CAFTA

    Carnegie Events

    Lessons From North American Environmental Cooperation 30 May 2003
    Civil Society and the November 2003 Miami Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial
    21 May 2003
    Environmentally Sustainable Trade: Project Update and Peer Review 10 Dec. 2002
    Making Globalization Work: Expanding the Benefits of Globalization to Working Families and the Poor 02 Dec. 2002
    FTAA Hemispheric Cooperation Program 22 Nov. 2002
    FTAA Negotiations: Implications for Trade and Environment 13 Nov. 2002
    Toward Civil Society Participation in the Americas: Workshops on Trade and Environment 30 Oct. 2002

    U.S. Government Resources

    Office of the United States Trade Representative
    NEW! Invitation for Civil Society to Volunteer Trade Capacity Building in support of CAFTA
    CAFTA resources page

    Trade Capacity Building page
    Public Hearing on the CAFTA [PDF], 19 Nov. 2002
    U.S. - Chile FTA text

    The White House "Fact Sheet U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement," 16 Jan. 2002
    • USAID: Trade Capacity Building Database, the Latin America & the Caribbean Region, and the Programa Ambiental Regional para Centroamérica (PROARCA)
    •U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica: CAFTA links

    Central American National & Regional Resources

    • Central American Presidents' Statement on CAFTA (en español), 26 Sept. 2002
    Secretaria de Integracion Economica Centroamericana (en español)
    El SICA: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (en español)
    Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo (en español)

    Central American Country Websites for CAFTA (en español)

    Costa Rica- Ministerio de Comercio Exterior (COMEX)
    El Salvador - Ministerio de Economia (MINEC)
    Guatemala - Ministero de Economia (MINECO)
    Honduras - Secretaria de Industria y Comercio (SICT)
    Nicaragua - Ministerio de Fomento, Industria y Comercio (MIFIC)

    National Action Plans for Trade Capacity Building (in English)

    Costa Rica (PDF), & en español
    El Salvador (PDF)
    Guatemala (PDF)
    Honduras (PDF)
    Nicaragua (PDF)

    International Institutions

    Home Page of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
    • Organization of American States: Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development & en español
    • The World Bank:
    CAFTA resource page, CAFTA research project, and Lessons from NAFTA research project
    Inter-American Development Bank
    United Nations Environment Programme: Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, & en español

    Diverse Perspectives from Civil Society

    NEW! The Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Comercio Integración y Desarrollo Sostenible (Initiative for Trade Integration and Development) -- comprised of over 40 Central American civil society groups -- offers analysis and alternative proposals for the CAFTA, and requests a moratorium on CAFTA negotiations June 2003. English and en español here.
    NEW! AFL-CIO and UNITE! submit Central America: Labor Rights and Child Labor Reports 5 June 2003. See also AFL-CIO, Declaration with Central American Unions 8 Jan. 2003; and Comments on the CAFTA Nov. 2002.
    Business Coalition for U.S. Central America Trade
    • Committee In Solidarity With the People of El Salvador, CISPES Campaign Against CAFTA/ FTAA
    NEW! Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper El Salvador's Failure to Protect Workers' Human Rights: Implications for CAFTA May 2003
    Inter-American Dialogue: country studies, Central America
    • International Labor Rights Fund Comments on the CAFTA Dec. 2002 (PDF)
    • Lawyers Committee for Human Rights Labor Standards and the Central American Free Trade Agreement 19 Nov. 2002 (PDF)
    Letter to President Bush & press release: civil society groups call for an extended deadline, greater transparency and public participation in CAFTA negotiations, 9 April 2003
    • SHARE Foundation: Building a New El Salvador Today Statement to USTR Nov. 2002
    US-LEAP:Workers Rights and U.S. Trade Policy
    Americas Program, Interhemispheric Resource Center:

    - "U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement: Leaping Without Looking?" by Vincent McElhinny, 17 Jan. 2003
    - "CAFTA: Free Trade vs. Democracy?" by Mark Engler, 30 Jan. 2003
    - "A Treaty Tied by Chains: CAFTA: A Perspective From Costa Rica,"José Merino del Río, 20 Feb. 2003; & en español

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    This page is maintained by Vanessa Ulmer, Junior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Please contact with your comments or suggestions.