Regarding the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Kendrick B. Meek released the following statement on the DR-CAFTA Implementation Act, H.R. 3045. The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives tonight by a margin of 217 to 215.
In comments he submitted for publication in the Congressional Record, Meek said:
“Mr. Speaker, I am a strong supporter of trade. Since I came to Congress, I have voted for free trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Morocco, and Singapore.
“There has been a lot of exaggeration about the benefits and the problems that would be attributable to DR-CAFTA, but I look at this agreement in a larger context.
“First, I believe that the Bush Administration has never done enough to provide Florida businesses with the government services they need to expand, develop new markets, and operate efficiently, especially with regard to Miami International Airport, which is the single largest employer in Miami-Dade County.
“Second, we know the state of Florida lost 35,000 jobs after the passage of NAFTA. While some Florida businesses will benefit from DR-CAFTA, I don’t believe the gain in new business will be as pronounced as proponents have claimed, and I deeply concerned about the impact on some industries, like sugar.
“Third, I believe that is unjust to include the Dominican Republic in this trade agreement while excluding Haiti. The Administration had the opportunity to promote stability, job growth and democratic government in Haiti last year with the HERO bill, but the President was never fully committed to the legislation and the opportunity was lost.
“I think it is disingenuous of the President to now claim that the passage of DR-CAFTA is essential for the growth of democracy in the hemisphere when he passed up the opportunity to help Haiti with both of these trade bills.”