In another letter, Agriculture Minister Mike Johanns assured Senator Saxby Chambliss and Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte that the CAFTA-DR administration would not allow intervention in the operation of the sugar program under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (farm Bill) until the GJ 2007, when it expired. In particular, it promised to take action if additional sugar imports from ALEFTA, NAFTA and other trade agreements jeopardized the sugar program`s operations by exceeding the import trigger threshold. If so, the U.S. Minister of Agriculture has stated that he is prepared to prevent additional sugar import sweeteners from entering the domestic market, either by making direct payments to exporters or by using agricultural raw materials to purchase sugar for non-food purposes (ethanol production). The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement. The agreement originally covered the United States and Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and was called CAFTA. In 2004, the Dominican Republic joined the negotiations and the agreement was renamed CAFTA-DR. This distribution is not uniform across the region. Honduras, for example, exports 67% of its goods to the United States, compared to 44% in Costa Rica. Honduras also has the highest level of imports from the United States at 53%, compared to 25% for Nicaragua, which is the lowest. Global trade (exports) with the United States is also somewhat heterogeneous from one country to another.
Costa Rica accounts for 30% of Central America`s total trade with the United States, while Nicaragua accounts for only 5% of total trade. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador account for 25%, 22% and 18% respectively. CAFTA-DR strengthens the rights and conditions of workers in the region by imposing the protection of the work to which their workers are entitled under the national laws of the federal states. These include the first conflict under a free trade agreement to ensure that Guatemalan workers can exercise their rights under Guatemalan law.