· Points out that test data and trade secrets submitted to a government for marketing authorization are protected from unfair commercial use for a period of five years for drugs and agrochemicals for a period of five years. It fills in the potential loopholes in these provisions. · More than 80% of U.S. exports of consumer goods and manufactured goods to Central America will be duty-free as soon as the agreement comes into force and 85% will be duty-free within five years. All remaining rates will be removed within 10 years. The official start of the negotiations was announced by the U.S. Trade Representative and the ministers of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua on January 8, 2003 in Washington D.C. and negotiations between the United States and four of the Central American countries were concluded on December 17, 2003. On January 25, 2004, an agreement was reached between Costa Rica and the United States. Where a dispute over effective or proposed national regulation cannot be resolved after a 30-day consultation, the matter may be referred to a body of independent experts selected by the parties.
Once the panel proceedings are complete, a report will be prepared by the panel. The parties will attempt to resolve the dispute on the basis of the panel`s report. In the absence of an out-of-court settlement, the complainant may suspend commercial benefits equivalent to those it considers to be affected or affected by the measure at issue. In the event of litigation in both the CAFTA-DR and the WTO agreement, the complainant may choose one of the two forums.  · The agreement will create a safe and predictable legal framework for U.S. investors active in Central American countries. CAFTA-DR is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a small group of developing countries. It was created with the aim of creating new and better economic opportunities by opening markets, removing tariffs, removing barriers to services and much more. In 2015, it was estimated that two-way trade resulted in $53 billion.  Almost all Central American exports to the United States were already duty-free under the 1984 Caribbean Basin initiative.
In August 2004, the U.S. International Trade Commission published a study on the impact of CAFTA on the Dominican Republic and Central America. The report says the agreement is expected to generate benefits for U.S. exports, economic well-being and market access. DR-CAFTA is expected to increase U.S. exports by $1.9 billion in global implementation, more than any other recent free trade agreement, including Australia. In the absence of a CAFTA, U.S. products face a competitive disadvantage in the region, as Central American countries have been actively involved in negotiating free trade agreements that do not include the United States.
More than 20 trade agreements in Central America give preferences for products from Mexico, Canada, Chile and several South American nations. On 24 September 2001, five Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – met with the United States on the sidelines of the 9th meeting of the ACA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) to discuss ways to deepen bilateral trade and investment relations.