For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 15, 2005
CAFTA Will Create Jobs and Level the Playing Field for American Workers
Today, President Bush Visited The R. L. Stowe Textile Factory In North
Carolina Where He Delivered Remarks In Support Of The Central America And
Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). After touring the
factory, the President called on Congress to pass CAFTA to support American
jobs and democracy and security in Central America and the Dominican
CAFTA Will Benefit American Textile Workers. Increased global trade means
that American textile firms need to take advantage of regional
opportunities for exports and growth. The National Council of Textile
Organizations endorses CAFTA, which will help level the playing field for
American firms by eliminating existing duties on American products. This
will save jobs and make U.S. exports much more competitive.
CAFTA Will Help Keep Textile Jobs In America. In 2004, North Carolina
exported more than $1.7 billion worth of manufactured goods to CAFTA
nations - most of it in textiles and apparel. Without CAFTA, the market
for our textiles in Central America would likely disappear - and so would
thousands of jobs in North Carolina and around the country.
CAFTA Will Help America Compete With China. CAFTA will work to offset the
biggest challenge now facing the industry - low-cost producers in China.
While a t-shirt that says "Made in Honduras" is likely to contain more than
60 percent American materials, a "Made in China" t-shirt is likely to
contain no materials from the U.S. Under CAFTA, Central American and
Dominican garment makers will have a strong incentive to use American
materials, which will enter the country duty-free.
CAFTA Will Expand Business Opportunities. Since Congress passed similar
trade agreements with Caribbean nations five years ago, exports from
American thread manufacturers and yarn spinners to that region have grown
ten-fold, saving thousands of jobs and giving U.S. companies the ability to
compete with producers in Asia.
CAFTA Will Benefit American Manufacturers. CAFTA will instantly eliminate
tariffs on 80 percent of U.S.-manufactured goods, and the remainder of
tariffs will be phased out within a few years. As a result, manufacturers
and workers will benefit from increased sales of information technology;
farm, construction, medical, and scientific equipment; paper products; and
CAFTA Would Result In An Extra Billion Dollars Worth Of Manufactured
Exports. Today, the growing economies of Central America and the Dominican
Republic have a huge appetite for our goods. From 2000 to 2004, U.S.
exports to CAFTA nations grew three times faster than the overall rate of
CAFTA Will Benefit American Farmers And Ranchers. As American agricultural
productivity increases, our farmers and ranchers rely more and more on
exports. Twenty-seven percent of their income currently comes from exports.
CAFTA Will Level The Playing Field For American Farmers And Ranchers.
Eighty percent of imports from Central America and the Dominican Republic,
including 99 percent of agricultural imports, already enter the United
States duty free. CAFTA will level the playing field by reducing hefty
tariffs and burdensome regulations on U.S. exports to CAFTA nations.
U.S. Agricultural Exports Will Increase. The American Farm Bureau
estimates U.S. farm exports could grow by $1.5 billion per year, as CAFTA
will allow the people of Central America and the Dominican Republic to buy
even more from the U.S. agricultural sector.
CAFTA Will Strengthen The Young Democracies Of The Region, Making America
Safer In Our Own Neighborhood. By passing CAFTA, we will help continue the
transformation of the Americas into a more peaceful, democratic, and
prosperous hemisphere. By bringing economic growth to Central America and
the Dominican Republic, CAFTA will boost demand for U.S. goods, reduce
poverty, discourage illegal immigration, raise working standards, and
deliver hope and opportunity to people who have made the choice for