Does Your Company Have a CAFTA-DR Strategy?

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretarial Business Development Mission to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Great Markets for U.S. Businesses:

The Central American and Caribbean region represents a great opportunity for U.S. companies.

The region created by the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, commonly referred to as CAFTA-DR, is the third largest export market in Latin America and the 14th largest market in the world for U.S. exports.

The United States exports more to this region than it exports to Ireland, Russia, and Indonesia combined. Last year, U.S. exports to the region surpassed $22 billion (an increase of 14.4 percent over 2006) and nearly half of the region’s imports are from the United States.

CAFTA-DR provides substantial new market access for U.S. companies and solidifies the United States as the leading supplier of goods and services to Central America by eliminating the vast majority of tariffs on U.S. goods exported to the region.

More than 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial, consumer, and agricultural products to Central America have become duty free immediately upon entry into force of the Agreement, with remaining tariffs phased out over 10 years.

U.S. companies have the chance to launch or increase their current sales in these growing markets by joining Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez as he leads a delegation of U.S. businesses on the CAFTA-DR Business Development Mission September 29-October 4, 2008.

Special Opportunities for Mission Participants

The Department of Commerce recognizes that while there are a number of U.S. companies that have been successful in the CAFTA-DR markets, some companies need assistance negotiating the these markets to take full advantage of the great opportunities that exist.

This Mission is designed to promote a cross section of U.S. industries with clear potential in the Costa Rican, Dominican Republic and Nicaraguan markets, particularly, though not exclusively, in the best U.S. export sectors for the region. Mission participants will benefit from customized on-site services and opportunities, including:

Individual company pre-screened business appointments with potential buyers, agents/distributors and partners;

Latest information on market access and business opportunities;

Opportunities to meet with senior government officials and industry decision-makers.

Who Should Participate

This mission is designed for U.S. companies with clear potential for business in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Companies fitting the following descriptions are encouraged to apply:

U.S. companies already doing business with these countries as well as experienced exporters seeking to enter these markets;

U.S. companies interested in investing in these markets;

U.S. companies involved in major project procurement;

U.S. companies interested in addressing obstacles to trade in these markets, including transparency, rule of law, financial reform and intellectual property rights protection.


After a company has been selected to participate on the mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the form of a participation fee is required.

Large Companies Principal Participant fee: $10,000

Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Principal Participant fee: $7,000

Additional firm representative (both Large companies & SMEs): $2,500

Expenses for travel, lodging, most meals, and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant.

Application Procedures

Don’t miss this tremendous business opportunity. Request an application to participate in this business development mission.

The application deadline is Thursday, August 7, 2008. Completed applications should be submitted to the Department of Commerce Office of Business Liaison. Applications received after Thursday, August 7, 2008 will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.


E-mail your questions to or call the US Department of Commerce Office of Business Liaison directly 202-482-1360.

Learn more about the Central American & Caribbean Markets

CAFTA_DR Market of the Month

Central America


Trade Americas