This article examines the role of free-trade agreements that integrate profoundly asymmetrical economies in simultaneously benefiting the more powerful nation and exacerbating inequalities within and between the countries involved. The latest in a series of such agreements in the Americas, the Dominican Republic and Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), opens up the economies of these small nations to US investment and exports, as multinational companies are able to take advantage of lower production costs and weak labour legislation. In the global economy, South-South trade agreements offer a far better alternative for countries with weak institutions and little economic or political leverage.
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