Critical building block for international trade means important advances for Consumer Electronics Industry
In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) expressed support for the immediate consideration and passage of the US-Central American - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), a significant advancement in international market access and trade facilitation provisions.
CAFTA-DR will bring the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua into the WTO Information Technology Agreement, joining Costa Rica and El Salvador who are already members. This development is designed to result in significant and timely tariff elimination. The CAFTA-DR also outlines improvements in customs laws and regulations that aid the shipping of U.S. exports to help expand markets in Central America.
“Open and free trade is crucial to the success of the consumer electronics industry in the United States and around the world,” wrote CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “In view of the fact that more than 60 percent of US technology industry revenue comes from overseas, passage of the CAFTA-DR will continue the important work of expanding markets, benefiting the signatory countries and ultimately benefiting the consumer electronics industry.”
While most products from Central America already enter the United States without duties, US technology product exports often face tariffs ranging between five and 30% in the CAFTA-DR nations. With the completion of the CAFTA-DR, the United States now has the opportunity to make that relationship reciprocal by achieving significant market access provisions in the Central American Region.
CAFTA-DR also states that companies may use duty drawbacks and other duty deferral regimes with respect to other trading partners outside of CAFTA-DR. In addition to placing U.S. companies on a level playing field with companies in Europe and Asia whose various free trade agreements (FTAs) already include drawback provisions, the CAFTA-DR sets a precedent for continuance of drawbacks in forthcoming FTAs and expands opportunities for free trade globally.
“Passage of the CAFTA-DR means equality for US companies and improved business processes with Central America, the United States’ 18th largest export market,” said Shapiro. “CEA applauds the US government for its hard work in achieving this trade agreement.”