The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has issued a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to ratify the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement. The Bush administration supports the agreement, which is supposed to be voted on by Congress before the end of May. It faces opposition, however, from members of both parties in Congress.

Even U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has expressed reservations about Cafta, saying it would limit the U.S.’s ability to negotiate agricultural agreements in the future.

Last week, Costa Rica’s president, Abel Pacheco, said that he would not submit Cafta to Costa Rica’s Congress until he is convinced that it does not threaten the poor.

The Cafta nations are Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as the Dominican Republic, although it is located in the Caribbean.

According to the Metro Atlanta chamber’s resolution, Cafta would open up important export markets for Georgia companies producing electrical machinery, high technology, motor vehicles, chemicals, energy, food and other agricultural products, paper, textiles and fertilizer.

The resolution also says that a prosperous Central America and Dominican Republic would provide significant increases in trade, investment, tourism and cultural activities that it considers essential to Georgia’s economic development.

In addition, the resolution says that the agreement would help stabilize the economies of its members and provide their citizens “with important alternatives to illegal narcotics activity or illegal immigration into the United States.”

Ratification of Cafta “would help pave the way for future free trade agreements such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas”, the resolution also says. Atlanta is competing to be selected as the site for the secretariat of the FTAA, and the chamber has supported the city and state’s efforts in this regard.

The resolution is signed by chamber chairman Thomas D. Bell Jr., its president, Sam A. Williams and its secretary and treasurer, Guy F. Budinscak.

For more information, call Rebecca Wallace at (404) 898-1278.