Costa Rica Gets Extension to Join Free Trade Agreement

Friday, October 3, 2008

Costa Rica has gotten a three-month extension to join the Dominican Republic–Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Originally, Costa Rica had until Oct. 1 to join the trade pact. But Costa Rica missed the deadline by not having all the necessary legislative adjustments in place to become a member.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, who was on a trade mission to Costa Rica with several U.S. exporters, said in a press conference Sept. 30 that the Bush administration supports Costa Rica’s membership in the accord. The United States and the other five Central American members of DR-CAFTA agreed to the new deadline of Jan. 1, 2009.

Costa Rican lawmakers now must pass 13 pieces of legislation to become members of the trade accord, which eliminates quotas and tariffs on many goods that are traded between the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Most of those countries have been members since 2006 or 2007. —Deborah Belgum