March 14,2005

Grassley Sets Date for Committee Hearing on the United States-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, today announced plans for a full committee hearing on the United States-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Today’s hearing announcement follows action by Guatemala last week to become thethird country, along with El Salvador and Honduras, to pass legislation implementing CAFTA.

“I’m extremely pleased to see that the Guatemalan congress passed legislation last weekto implement CAFTA,” Grassley said. “CAFTA is the foundation of our relationship with theDominican Republic and Central America. It’s an important agreement that will providesignificant benefits to U.S. farmers, manufacturers and service workers. I believe the U.S.Congress needs to turn our attention to this important agreement soon. As a first step, I intend tohold a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee when we return from the Spring recess. CAFTAis an important part of the Finance Committee’s trade agenda. It deserves the early attention ofthe Senate.”

Grassley said the hearing would occur on Wed., April 6, at 10 am. A date for informalcommittee consideration of the implementing legislation by the Finance Committee, which hasjurisdiction over international trade, has not been set.

Central America and the Dominican Republic make up the second-largest U.S. exportmarket in Latin America, behind Mexico and larger than Brazil.