Chile, Singapore Free-Trade Pacts Take Effect

By John S. McClenahen Free-trade agreements between the U.S. and Chile and Singapore took effect on Jan. 1, 2004, the 10th anniversary date of NAFTA's implementation. Bilateral trade with Chile totaled $5.3 billion for the first 10 months of 2003; bilateral trade with Singapore was $26.7 billion for the same period. Meanwhile, the White House is getting ready to send to Congress notice of its intent to sign a free-trade agreement with four Central American nations: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Still being negotiated is a pact establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), extending (with the exception of Cuba) from the Arctic to the southern tip of Argentina. The working deadline for the U.S. and 33 other Western Hemisphere nations to reach agreement is Jan. 1, 2005. However, it's widely believed that FTAA negotiations could take as much as an additional year.

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