Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Free Trade Agreement Update

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate approved a ten-month extension of the Andean Trade Preference Program that was due to expire on February 29, 2008. The new expiration date has been extended to December 31, 2008, which gives the USTR and Congress additional time to approve the U.S-Columbia FTA and implement the U.S. – Peru agreements.

The U.S. and members of CAFTA agreed to extend the deadline for Costa Rica to complete its obligations under the CAFTA-DR until October 1, 2008. Since Costa Rican voters approved CAFTA-DR in October 2007, Costa Rica has made significant process towards implementing certain requirements by the February 29 deadline, but they needed additional time to implement certain legislative and regulatory requirements.

On a political note, both Obama and Clinton indicate that they would take a tougher position on future trade agreements and might opt out of NAFTA if certain provisions are not renegotiated. In the meantime, President Bush continues to press Congress to approve the U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia.

It looks like 2008 will be an interesting year for free trade agreements.

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