Costa Rica set to reject CAFTA


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityWASHINGTON – The White House said Saturday that if Costa Ricans vote against joining a U.S.-Central American free trade agreement, the Bush administration will not renegotiate the deal. The Costa Rican government scheduled a referendum today on the accord. A newspaper poll published Thursday showed that voters were poised to reject it. Much of the opposition stems from requirements under the pact that Costa Rica open its telecommunications, services and agricultural sectors to greater competition. The White House also suggested it may not extend trade preferences now afforded to Costa Rican products and set to expire next September. “The United States has never before confronted the question of extending unilateral trade preferences to a country that has rejected a reciprocal trade agreement,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. Costa Rica is the only one of the six Latin American signatories to the trade deal, known as CAFTA, that has yet to ratify it. The deal is in effect in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. A minimum of 40 percent of Costa Rica’s 2.6 million voters must participate for today’s vote to be valid. The White House urged Costa Ricans to recognize the benefits of the agreement. It would “expand Costa Rica’s access to the U.S. market, safeguard that access under international law, attract U.S. and other investment and link Costa Rica to some of the most dynamic economies of our hemisphere,” according to the statement. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! FREE TRADE: Bush says he will not renegotiate the pact if voters turn it down today. By Jennifer Loven THE ASSOCIATED PRESS last_img read more