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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Meets with Ministers from Central America

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, September 28, 2009

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Meets with Ministers from Central America

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a productive, hour-long meeting with ministers from Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua while at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Chile. This was Locke’s first meeting with this group of ministers.

Secretary Locke underscored the U.S. Government’s commitment to expanding trade with the countries of Central America and to ensuring that the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is an effective mechanism for sustainable economic growth.

The ministers discussed critical issues for improving regional competitiveness through good corporate social responsibility, as well as promoting private sector investment, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We are working closely with the countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic to ensure that the free trade agreement continues to be a catalyst for trade expansion, job creation, and economic growth,” Locke said.

Central America and the Dominican Republic represent the third largest U.S. export market in Latin America, behind Mexico and Brazil. The agreement has spurred significant U.S. export growth to the region (50 percent higher in 2008 compared to 2005, the year before the agreement first entered into force).