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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 23, 2005

Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United States


I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents to implement the Dominican Republic Central America United States Free Trade Agreement (the "Agreement"). The Agreement represents an historic development in our relations with Central America and the Dominican Republic and reflects the commitment of the United States to supporting democracy, regional integration, and economic growth and opportunity in a region that has transitioned to peaceful, democratic societies.

In negotiating this Agreement, my Administration was guided by the objectives set out in the Trade Act of 2002. Central America and the Dominican Republic constitute our second largest export market in Latin America and our tenth largest export market in the world. The Agreement will create significant new opportunities for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses by opening new markets and eliminating barriers. United States agricultural exports will obtain better access to the millions of consumers in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

Under the Agreement, tariffs on approximately 80 percent of U.S. exports will be eliminated immediately. The Agreement will help to level the playing field because about 80 percent of Central America's imports already enjoy duty free access to our market. By providing for the effective enforcement of labor and environmental laws, combined with strong remedies for noncompliance, the Agreement will contribute to improved worker rights and high levels of environmental protection in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

By supporting this Agreement, the United States can stand with those in the region who stand for democracy and freedom, who are fighting corruption and crime, and who support the rule of law. A stable, democratic, and growing Central America and Dominican Republic strengthens the United States economically and provides greater security for our citizens.

The Agreement is in our national interest, and I urge the Congress to approve it expeditiously.



June 23, 2005.

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