Each publication contains the United States Harmonized Customs Plan (HTSUS) General Note containing general and specific rules of origin, a list of all products that became duty-free upon entry into force, and the exemption plan for goods that have been released over time. The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras also approved the agreement. You are all current members of CAFTA-DR. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR FTA) came into force in 2006 for the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, 2007 for the Dominican Republic and 2009 for Costa Rica. Under the free trade agreement, 100% of U.S. exports of consumer goods and industrial goods to CAFTA-DR countries will no longer be subject to tariffs. Tariffs on almost all agricultural products in the United States will expire by 2020. To be treated duty-free under free trade agreements, products must comply with applicable rules of origin. 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. We remain committed to helping Guatemala achieve this and achieve the benefits that flow from the application of the internationally recognized Workers` Rights Act.
Most exports from the Dominican Republic and Central America to the United States have been duty-free under a trade preference program made available by the U.S. Congress to promote regional economic development (CBI). CAFTA-DR reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports to the region. CAFTA-DR also ensures that U.S. companies are not penalized by trade agreements that Central America has already negotiated with our NAFTA partners and other countries. Free-form certification of CAFTA-DR manufacturers and exporters and U.S. importers can be used as an alternative to the presentation of the Certificate of Origin when they have ensured that their products meet the requirements of the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement. The official start of the negotiations was announced by the U.S. Trade Representative and the ministers of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua on January 8, 2003 in Washington D.C. and negotiations between the United States and four of the Central American countries were concluded on December 17, 2003. On January 25, 2004, an agreement was reached between Costa Rica and the United States.
The agreement is a treaty in international law, but not under the U.S. Constitution, because in the United States, laws require the approval of both chambers, while treaties require two-thirds approval in the Senate. Under U.S. law, CAFTA-DR is an executive agreement of Congress. On June 30, 2005, the U.S. Senate approved CAFTA-DR by 54 votes to 45 and on July 28, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the pact by a vote of 217 to 215 votes, with two representatives not voting.  This vote was controversial because it was open 1 hour 45 minutes longer than the normal 15 minutes to get some members to change their votes.
 For procedural reasons, on July 28, the Senate held a second vote on CAFTA and the pact obtained an additional vote from Senator Joe Lieberman, who was absent on June 30, in favour of the agreement.  The implementing laws became public law 109-053 when it was signed by President George W.