President Bush spoke to a forum organized by the Organization of American States on CAFTA-DR today.
By opening up Central America and the Dominican Republic to U.S. trade and investment, CAFTA will help those countries develop a better life for their citizens. That seems to make sense to me. I mean, if you’re living in a neighborhood, you want your neighbors doing well. If you’re a good neighbor you say, gosh, I hope everybody in the neighborhood is succeeding. And by helping those economies improve, CAFTA will help the nations strengthen their democracies. And that’s in our national security interest. That’s makes us all more secure.
So this bill is more than a trade bill. This bill is a commitment of freedom-loving nations to advance peace and prosperity throughout the Western hemisphere. And that’s important for members of Congress to understand.
CAFTA begins by ensuring that free trade is fair trade. I mean — you know, I traveled the country quite extensively in the recent past and said, I’m a free trader. But I reminded people in our country I’m also for fair trade. It’s one thing to advocate free trade; I believe the government has a role to make sure that trade is fair for all of us. In other words, we want people treating us the way we treat them.
You can see the full speech here.