Washington Law Review


Ben Stafford


The federal government's use of its control over foreign commerce increasingly conflicts with powers reserved to the states. Article 9 of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) establishes requirements by which government agencies must abide in procuring goods and services. Specifically, CAFTA Article 9 establishes that procuring entities must afford "national treatment" to goods imported from other CAFTA nations by treating such foreign goods at least as favorably as similar domestic goods. The federal government reached an agreement wherein a number of states became bound by these rules, including fourteen states with state statutes related to governmental procurement preferences for recycled paper. This Comment argues that three of these state statutes violate CAFTA by requiring that procuring governmental entities give preference to local recycled paper products over their foreign recycled and virgin paper counterparts. Such a violation places the United States in breach of treaty. Accordingly, these states must modify their laws to bring them into compliance with CAFTA or risk federal preemption or targeted trade sanctions.

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