During a meeting earlier this year of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States (CAFTA-DR) Free Trade Commission, the ministerial-level body responsible for supervising the implementation of the CAFTA-DR agreed to undertake their respective domestic procedures required to implement proposed changes to the rules of origin for certain products under the Agreement. A U.S. public submission process and technical discussions among the countries resulted in a package to modify the rules of origin for fishing lures, gaming machines, polyvinyl chloride, and certain chemicals. These changes would make it easier for certain products made in the United States and other CAFTA-DR countries to benefit from lower tariffs under the Agreement, and should promote trade and competitiveness within the region. As part of that process, USTR has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to conduct a study of the probable economic effects of these proposed changes.
The USITC report is expected in May 2016. USTR will carefully review the ITC advice and continue to consult with stakeholders before implementing any changes. In 2014, U.S. exports of the goods covered by the changes was about $1.5 billion, while U.S. imports of the same products were about $112 million. The changes will also facilitate trade among the CAFTA-DR countries. The USITC notice of investigation, Probable Economic Effects of Certain Modifications to the CAFTA-DR Rules of Origin is available on the USITC website, here.