Pacific Rim v. El Salvador and the Perils of Free Trade in the Americas

Council on Hemispheric Affairs Research Associate Krista Scheffey 

July 30, 2010. 

In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama published an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune entitled “Why I oppose CAFTA.” In his article, released on the same date as the Senate vote on the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (“DR-CAFTA”), Obama explained that he would not vote for the bill and voiced his opinion that DR-CAFTA “…does little to address enforcement of basic environmental standards in the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.”1 Despite well-founded fears about the consequences of DR-CAFTA among its critics, President George W. Bush and his administration lobbied heavily for the passage of the bill, which was signed into law on August 2, 2005. El Salvador became the first of the Central American nations to implement DR-CAFTA after the treaty took effect in the country on March 1, 2006….

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