"This trade agreement is long overdue," said Washington Association of Wheat Growers Director of Issues, Gretchen Borck. "By gradually eliminating the tariffs on exports into Central America and the Dominican Republic, the playing field will finally be leveled for Washington goods and services."
The agreement would immediately eliminate 80 percent of the tariffs currently in place on U.S. exports to the region, with the remaining tariffs being phased out over the next 10 to 15 years, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since a majority of Dominican Republic and Central American goods already enter the United States with little or no tariffs, the agreement is important to ensure a reciprocal relationship between the two markets.
"Without passage of CAFTA-DR, our products will continue to lose significant market share to suppliers from competing countries," said Northwest Horticultural Council President Chris Schlect. "Several countries, including Chile, have negotiated favorable trade agreements with the region that have placed our state's apples, pears and cherries at a serious disadvantage. We need CAFTA-DR."