Trade is the key issue in the upcoming presidential election. It is clear that trade policies proposed by the Bush Administration in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) will not lead to a reduction in global poverty, will not generate higher paying jobs and will not protect the environment.
I studied free trade in Mexico in the fall of 2001, and from what I've seen and learned, NAFTA (the trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.), has been less than beneficial for all three countries. For example, loss of jobs in the U.S, and a decline in Mexico's agricultural economy have resulted. Increased immigration from Mexico to the U.S. is a direct result of this trade agreement.
CAFTA, as it is currently written, should be rejected. Only if this trade agreement includes explicit guarantees of internationally recognized labor rights to organize unions and to prohibit child labor will it lead to protection for jobs at home and in Central America.