Nearly three-quarters of U.S. imports from Central America fall into three main categories: fruit (mainly bananas) and coffee; Clothes; integrated circuits. For different reasons, these three categories are not negotiated uniformly by the five countries (see Table 1). First, Central America traditionally exports bananas and coffee dominated by Costa Rica and Guatemala. Coffee declined in all countries except Costa Rica, and accounted for only 3.8% of U.S. imports from the region. This reflects the competitive nature of the coffee trade, which is also grown in large quantities by Brazil, Colombia and African countries. The banana trade has also lost its importance and accounts for only 5.0% of U.S. imports from Central America. The debate on the relevance of labour laws has not been resolved to the satisfaction of a party, but there has been little disagreement that labour law enforcement is a persistent problem and that union formation is not widespread.
In their own report, CAFTA-DR countries recognized the lack of financial resources and technical know-how to implement good working practices, a problem that will also take time and resources to overcome it. USITC, U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, 64. The study examines the CAFTA-DR literature and estimates the economic and sectoral impact of trade liberalization under CAFTA-DR on the basis of a General Balance Model (CGE). For more details, see page XIV, 2 and Appendix D. CAFTA-DR strengthens the rights and conditions of workers in the region by enforcing the protection of 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. On 24 September 2001, five Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – met with the United States on the sidelines of the 9th meeting of the ACA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) to discuss ways to deepen bilateral trade and investment relations.