Blog: Is CAFTA losing momentum?
Leonie Barrie | 1 July 2005
Does yesterday’s narrow vote by the US Senate in favour of CAFTA signal serious trouble for the pact when it gets to the House of Representatives? That at least is what US trade groups are saying. Admittedly they have fought a long, hard campaign against the trade agreement, but they do point out that: “This vote should have been a blowout, especially considering that the US Senate traditionally is strongly supportive of free trade and that CAFTA opponents put almost no resources into lobbying that body.”
Apparently the 54 to 45 vote represents the low water mark for any free trade agreement (FTA) considered by the US Senate. The previous closest vote was a 61 to 38 vote for NAFTA, while the Chile FTA passed 65 to 32, the Singapore FTA passed 66 to 32, the Morocco FTA passed 85 to 13 and the Australia FTA passed 80 to 16.
The last hurdle to the pact’s implementation is a vote by the House of Representatives some time after July 11. Opposition from lawmakers in states that rely on the textile industry is expected to be strong. They believe CAFTA will be a “job killer for textiles” as it includes more loopholes to outsource US textile and apparel jobs than NAFTA. If fully utilised, the cumulation, tariff preference level, single transformation, and non-essential fabric loopholes will reduce US textile and apparel exports to the region by 20 to 25 per cent, they argue.
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