On August 5, 2004, the United States signed the U.S.-
Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with five Central
American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the
Dominican Republic. DR-CAFTA could have a significant effect on U.S. relations with the region
by establishing a permanent reciprocal trade preference arrangement among the signatory countries.
The House and Senate passed the required implementing legislation (H.R. 3045) for
DR-CAFTA in July 2005, and President Bush signed it into law (P.L. 109-53) on August 2, 2005.
DR-CAFTA has been ratified by five of the six legislatures (Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua), but ratification has stalled in Costa Rica, and significant
opposition to the agreement exists in many of the signatory countries. Implementation of the
agreement has been delayed from the original target date of January 2006, causing negative political,
and possibly economic, repercussions in many countries. Regional concerns focus on DR-CAFTA's
likely effects on the rural poor, labor conditions, the environment, and domestic laws. This report
will be updated periodically. For more information, see CRS Report RL32322, Central America and
the Dominican Republic in the Context of the Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United
States, coordinated by [author name scrubbed].