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Look Back to 2002, Did Costa Rica Stand Up and Lead Central America?

Article Summary:

In 2002 the United States were in negotiations a free trade agreement (FTA) between themselves And Central America, and at the time Bush administration pinned hopes that Costa Rica would assume a leadership role. Fast forward to 2012 and the hopeful leader, Costa Rica, is struggling with governmental, budget, tourism and economic challenges. How did the US hopes pan out?

Photo Credit: El Financiero

Original Article Text From El Financiero via Google Translate :

Hope that Costa Rica is the leader?

U.S. Trade Secretary. UU. emphasizes quality of Costa Rican negotiating team.

In the nearby negotiations a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States (U.S..) And Central America, the Bush administration hopes that Costa Rica will assume a leadership role because of the talent, depth and experience you have in your team trade negotiators.

This was stated by Secretary of Commerce of the American nation, Grant Aldonas on Tuesday 15 October, during an interview with El Financiero at the Presidential Palace, located in Zapote, to which this weekly invited counsel Francisco Chacon , in his exviceministro quality of foreign trade.

That official also spoke or hinted positioned as EE. UU. in negotiations on issues such as exports of textiles, machinery for the settlement of commercial disputes and agricultural subsidies. A summary of the interview.

What is the role of EE. UU. expected to play Costa Rica during the negotiations with Central America?

Costa Rica has shown great leadership in trade over the last decade. In the U.S. we like to consider as the director of trade, but in recent years this leadership has been decreasing, while Costa Rica is moving dynamically with Panama and elsewhere. Costa Rica always hope to play this leadership role. Other participating countries and strong, like El Salvador and we hope that they also drive the process. But Costa Rica plays an important role in leadership.

What conditions do you see in Costa Rica to take that leadership role?

There is a certain depth in the Costa Rican team that I consider important, based on experience in negotiations with other countries in the WTO. It’s a very talented team and experience. This does not mean that there is talent and experience in other countries, but Costa Rica has much experience in dealing these issues.

The U.S. textile industry. UU. and the making of Costa Rica are already well integrated. What could be expected as a result of the negotiation process in this sector? Would you be willing EE. UU. to relax the rules of origin in this sector?

What is important in terms of rules of origin is that products are made here should enter duty free into the United States. We are looking for a rule of origin to ensure the benefits of free trade. Do not think it will be difficult to reach a final result.

The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) allows woven products in the U.S.. UU. can be completed in the region and enjoy a tariff treatment, not preferential tariff when entering the United States. UU. This is important for products such as socks, sweaters and underwear. However, some Alabama Republican senators now want to delete this preference for means. What will the Bush Administration’s position on the eve before the initiative to begin negotiating an FTA with Central America?

Legal certainty and have a dispute settlement mechanism agile, accessible and efficient is essential to the foreign trade of a small country like Costa Rica. What positions have EE novel. UU. for the dispute settlement mechanism of this treaty is better

There efficient models for conflict resolution, such as NAFTA (English initials of the free trade in North America), which has worked very well, or the model of the WTO (World Trade Organization). Most countries have seen that the WTO is a bit better than Nafta.

I think we can aunarnos to any agreement with Central America. Could be used to try to improve the basic model of the WTO and could be transported to the FTAA (Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas). Now, if the question is whether we are willing to accept this binding mechanism, yes?.

Retaliation unilateral trade and border closures, prohibition of access to certain products and the arbitrary increase of tariffs, are frequent occurrences in Central America. How can an FTA with U.S. help. UU. to create a more transparent business climate in this region

The most important thing we can do is focus on the fact that this is an agreement between the U.S. and Central America, and the expectation is to eliminate trade barriers in Central America as a practical matter. This is the most important impetus to try to achieve a customs union in this region.

Costa Rica is the largest recipient of U.S. investment in Central America. Knowing that you in the past has jefeado several committees on this subject, I’d like to give us your opinion of what might be the impact of this FTA in the future of foreign investment in Costa Rica and Central America.

I hope that Costa Rica and El Salvador from becoming a window into the American market.

Not surprise me that U.S. companies already established in these countries say they have to be operating throughout the region and start investing in other countries through branches, agents and relationships.

The U.S. domestic subsidies. UU. gives some agricultural products can lead to the exclusion of these products the tariff reduction program. What proposals have EE. UU. to prevent this from happening

Most Central American products exported to the United States are not subject to these subsidies. Costa Rica do not expect to be sold the wheat produced in North Dakota.

Not only have to see access to the U.S. market but also exports that could come from U.S.. UU. to the local market.

You’re right to think of our exports, but are not going to sell coffee, for example. The probability that we export sugar is zero. I would be surprised that as a practical matter this would generate too much friction.

EE. UU. and Central America have one year (2003) to complete the FTA negotiations. What will be the U.S. position. UU. If any Central American country has difficulty to keep pace required for this process

Do not want to predict the outcome of these negotiations. Our goal is to make sure we have an agreement with the region. We emphasize this because the more you let us emphasize, the more it becomes a prophecy will come true.

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From El Financiero

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