The Dominican Republic-Central America-United Stats Free Trade Agreement

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Throughout the decades, motivations to join a Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) have remained fairly consistent. Along with the prospects of economic growth and development, countries aim to achieve economic and social stability, poverty reduction, and an increase in labor provisions. As with many developing countries, RTAs encounter a wide range of complications that hinder economic prosperity. In some cases, RTAs that are formed with good intentions by countries who seek growth come to have a negative effect on a country within the agreement. The following essay will provide an in-depth analysis on the impact the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) continues to have on Guatemala’s preexisting social issue of child labor. In addition to identifying the general aspects of CAFTA-DR, an examination of the economic and social status of Guatemala as well as its established child labor status will be provided. In conclusion, the Church’s direct involvement with this social issue will be discussed.
An Outline of CAFTA-DR
Signed in August of 2004, the Dominican Republic-Central America-United Stats Free Trade Agreement was formed between the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and the United States. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, “[t]he CAFTA-DR is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies” (para. 1). Although there was tension within the United States government regarding CAFTA-DR’s social implications and its impact on other trade negotiations, some Central American countries delayed the ratification process due to their own concerns. While the agreement brought hope of ...

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...o the cases of child labor in Guatemala and other countries. Furthermore, this awareness has led to an increase in prayers and emotional support from Christians all over the world. One such organization, Kids Alive International, is a Christian ministry that has outreaches around the world dedicated to meeting the needs of children in need and sharing the love of Christ. According to their website, “more than 29% of all children in Guatemala are involved in child labor before the age of fourteen” (“Guatemala”, para. 2). Currently, Kids Alive Guatemala is meeting the needs of these children by programs such as Oasis, Keeping Families Together, and Casa Ester. These ministries provided care for the victims of sexual and physical abuse as well as providing Christian education and family counseling to the Guatemalan children and their families (“Guatemala”, para. 3).

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