On June 30, 2005, the U.S. Senate approved CAFTA-DR by 54 votes to 45 and on July 28, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the pact by a vote of 217 to 215 votes, with two representatives not voting.  This vote was controversial because it was open 1 hour 45 minutes longer than the normal 15 minutes to get some members to change their votes.  For procedural reasons, on July 28, the Senate held a second vote on CAFTA and the pact obtained an additional vote from Senator Joe Lieberman, who was absent on June 30, in favour of the agreement.  Enforcement laws became Public Law 109-053 when it was signed by President George W. Bush on August 2, 2005. Prior to CAFTA-DR, Honduras had a trade surplus in agricultural products. Years after CAFTA-DR, it had run a trade deficit. Many farmers have taken jobs in U.S. garment factories who have moved to CAFTA-DR in their country. However, many other factories have moved to China, Vietnam and other low-wage countries. As a result, apparel exports from CAFTA-DR countries to the United States in 2013 were lower than before the signing of the trade agreement.
The free trade agreement between the Central Republic and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) covers the United States and six countries in the greater Central American region. It was the first multilateral free trade agreement between the United States and small developing countries when it was signed on August 5, 2004. North American FREE-EXCHANGE ACCORD (NAFTA) and active bilateral free trade agreements such as the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement are seen as a block agreement instead of a free trade agreement of the Americas (FTA). Panama has concluded negotiations with the United States for a bilateral free trade agreement, known as the Panama-U.S. Trade Agreement, and has been in effect since October 2012. In May 2004, the Salvadoran American National Network, the largest national federation of Central American community organizations in the United States, spoke out against CAFTA, which they said was not ideologically motivated: “As immigrants, we deeply understand the potential benefits of better transnational cooperation. We would support an agreement that would increase economic opportunities, protect our common environment, guarantee workers` rights and recognise the role of human mobility in deepening already deep relations between our countries. However, the cafta agreement falls well short of this vision.  CAFTA-DR FTA Text The full text of the agreement is provided by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Why has CAFTA, like U.S. trade agreements before and after, failed to reduce widespread labour abuses? Kim Elliot, a member of the U.S. Free Trade Agreements` U.S. Free Trade Agreements, recently proposed this statement bluntly: the working provisions of U.S.
trade agreements “are included because they are necessary to get congressional business.” She added: “This is really about policy, not how to raise labour standards in these countries.” The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement.