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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS -
-

For Central Americans, Trade Pact With U.S. Remains a Mystery

Posted in the database on Tuesday, August 02nd, 2005 @ 10:05:32 MST (941 views)
from Diario Co Latino  

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Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, left, and Vice President Eduardo Stein, Thursday.

Independent of whether the voting was hard fought, a question that now is without significance, the United States voted in favor of the Free Trade Agreement [CAFTA] with the isthmus of Central America, under which commerce, supposedly in both directions, is strengthened.

According to those favoring the process - the government and a good portion of the business community - the trade agreement treaty is the only way to extricate the country from poverty, and, they say, it will bring an influx of foreign investment, which will reduce unemployment.

Watermelon Sellers in Guatemala City

Those that that were opposed to the signing of the treaty, guarantee that the only beneficiaries of the treaty will be the large transnational corporations and some Salvadoran companies that, thanks to their strategic alliances and economic power, will be able to play by the rules of the game that the treaty presupposes.

Today, the day on which the treaty has been approved in the United States, government officials have said that, "El Salvador must be prepared to enter into serious competition.”

It is our impression that the government ought to have been preparing for the treaty when it began to promote it, and when it became clear what the treaty entailed.

Waiting for the Papaya Boom in Guatemala City

For those of us who could only bear dumb witness to the negotiations and listeners of the bickering and gossip of those that were for or against the Treaty, all that is left is to wait and prepare for what will come.

And the fact is that, despite the declaration of the President of the Republic [Oscar Berger] that “all Salvadorians should celebrate,” this is quite difficult because the population never knew just what was being negotiated.

On the other hand, the government has never been clear in defining how the common Salvadoran or small businesses, to mention a few, will be benefited. That is to say, today, now that everything is completed, all we have left is to wait and hope - passively or actively.



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