Draft US-Panama FTA have adopted the working chapter of the CAFTA-DR language literally. Many members of Congress and others opposed four key aspects of the language. First, it stressed that a country did have to “enforce its own labour laws” instead of defining certain labour standards that needed to be codified and enforced.62 Second, it was the only provision of the work chapter subject to the ESTV combat process (other obligations were unenforceable). Third, the labour (and environmental) provisions had a separate dispute resolution mechanism, separate from the procedure for commercial and other disputes. Critics have accused the labour dispute mechanism of being inferior for many reasons. Fourth, a language that required only the contracting parties to “ensure” that they did not waive or deviate from their labour law obligations was found to be both insufficient and unenforceable. The United States has begun negotiating bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with the following countries and blocs: detailed descriptions and texts of many U.S. trade agreements can be accessed left via the Resource Center. To facilitate the strengthening of cross-border trade, the United States has reached an agreement with Mexico and Canada to increase the value of de minimis delivery. For the first time in decades, Canada will increase its de minimis level from $20 ($15.38) to $40 ($30.77) for taxes. Canada will also offer duty-free shipments of up to 150 $US ($115.38).
Mexico will continue to provide $50 de minimis exemptions and will also offer duty-free shipments of up to $117. Shipping rates to this level would be achieved with minimum formal entry procedures, which would allow more businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to be part of cross-border trade. Canada will also allow the importer to pay taxes 90 days after the importer enters. The United States is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) contains rules for trade among the 154 members of the WTO. The United States and other WTO members are currently participating in the WTO negotiations on development in Doha and a strong and open Doha agreement on both goods and services would go a long way in managing the global economic crisis and restoring the role of trade in promoting economic growth and development.