Ten years ago, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative CAFTA sold as the “best trade agreement of all time on work” and boasted of world-class work rules. These provisions did not prevent the assassination of 68 Guatemalan trade unionists during the seven years of the pact without a single arrest. In 2008, the AFL-CIO and Guatemalan trade unions filed a formal complaint in accordance with CAFTA`s labour rules and called for an end to widespread anti-union violence, wage theft and other abuses. It was only six years and dozens of killings of trade unionists later that the U.S. government made an arbitration on the case. The United States has lost this case and proves that the labour standards model in U.S. trade agreements is profoundly flawed. (If a case related to serious and endemic violence against trade unionists in Guatemala cannot be won, where could a case be successful under these rules….) Guatemalan trade union workers still face frequent attacks with almost total impunity. CAFTA-DR strengthens the rights and conditions of workers in the region by imposing the protection of the work to which their workers are entitled under the national laws of the federal states. These include the first conflict under a free trade agreement to ensure that Guatemalan workers can exercise their rights under Guatemalan law. We remain committed to helping Guatemala achieve this and achieve the benefits that flow from the application of the internationally recognized Workers` Rights Act.
The North Triangle of Central America creates a single customs union to facilitate travel, trade and investment in the region. The member states of this region are Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. This integrated economic bloc promotes the free movement of people and goods between the three countries and aims to increase trade opportunities, improve regional security and facilitate favourable conditions for tourism. The three countries represent an area of more than 77,000 square miles and represent about 60% of the Central American population. The first agreement between Honduras and Guatemala was reached in June 2017. Since the implementation of the programme, countries have recorded gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 1.4% and 1.2% respectively. With el Salvador`s arrival in August 2018, the three countries now expect them to generate $117 million in economic benefits across the region in terms of trade benefits. Government officials confirmed that the new centre will significantly reduce customs time and create a more competitive region for producers and buyers investing in Central America. With the completion of the Omoa Highway, which extends north from Honduras to Guatemala, the transport of goods and people in Central America will improve further. Each publication contains the United States Harmonized Customs Plan (HTSUS) General Note containing general and specific rules of origin, a list of all products that became duty-free upon entry into force, and the exemption plan for goods that have been released over time. Today, Donald Trump is the scapegoat for the economic insecurity faced by many Americans, for whom he is scapegoating with his racist attacks and xenophobic obsession with building a wall along our southern border.