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In Guatemala, mass protests were violently suppressed by the government and strikes broke out in Costa Rica against the trade agreement. In addition, many Catholic bishops in Central America and the United States rejected the treaty, as well as many social movements in the region. (Latin American Comparative Policy (page 469), Daniel C. Hellinger) CAFTA came into force on 1 March 2006 for Honduras and Nicaragua for El Salvador, on 1 April 2006 and Guatemala on 1 July 2006. The agreement for the Dominican Republic came into force on 1 March 2007. The agreement is a treaty in international law, but not under the U.S. Constitution, because in the United States, laws require the approval of both chambers, while treaties require two-thirds approval in the Senate. Under U.S. law, CAFTA-DR is an executive agreement of Congress. The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement.
The agreement originally covered the United States and Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and was called CAFTA. In 2004, the Dominican Republic joined the negotiations and the agreement was renamed CAFTA-DR. North American FREE-EXCHANGE ACCORD (NAFTA) and active bilateral free trade agreements such as the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement are seen as a block agreement instead of a free trade agreement of the Americas (FTA). Panama has concluded negotiations with the United States for a bilateral free trade agreement, known as the Panama-U.S. Trade Agreement, and has been in effect since October 2012. As part of the agreement, the parties significantly liberalize trade in goods and services. CAFTA-DR also includes important disciplines in the areas of customs management and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, public procurement, investment, telecommunications, e-commerce, intellectual property rights, transparency, labour protection and the environment.