• Costa Rica Coffee Guide
  • Costa Rica Real Estate

CAFTA Ratified, Start Date Uncertain

December 23, 2005

DESPITE stiff opposition and sometimes-violent protests, the free-trade agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA) was ratified this year by all participating countries except for Costa Rica, which is still deliberating (see Tico Times).

The trade pact, which is expected to favor Central American textile and sugar industries while potentially presenting problems for several other agricultural and sensitive economic sectors, was initially scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2006, though that s now looking doubtful.

The reason: the United States is demanding that the Central American countries each have modern intellectual property rights laws a legislative stipulation that Central American governments are claiming wasn t clear during negotiations.

As it stands in late December, only El Salvador and the United States will enter into the free-trade pact on Jan. 1. The other countries will be allowed in later on a rolling basis, after complying with the requirements.

Of the other Central American countries, Nicaragua is reportedly the closest to compliance and will be allowed in as soon as it passes a new intellectual property rights law. The Dominican Republic, according to CAFTA insiders, is nowhere close to being ready.

The uncertain start date is the latest question mark in a free-trade agreement that this year mobilized hundreds of thousands of protesters throughout the region. In some cases, specifically in Guatemala, the protests quickly turned violent, with demonstrators clashing with riot police.

There were also several pro-CAFTA marches staged this year in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, where employees of textile plants and other free-trade enthusiasts rallied for the trade pact.

Much of the participation in both the pro and anti-CAFTA marches was manufactured by interest groups either the free-trade zones instructing employees to go outside and cheer for their jobs, or left-of-center political parties and unions that bused people to the anti-rallies.

With free trade coming, polls indicate that many Central Americans are still unclear what CAFTA is all about, regardless if they placard they carried in the march said CAFTA SÍ or CAFTA NO.

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica is easing measures. Here’s what’s open
Costa Rica
228 views
Costa Rica
228 views

Costa Rica is easing measures. Here’s what’s open

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 6, 2020

Costa Rica continues easing coronavirus restrictions. Here's what's open (and what isn't) in Costa Rica as of early June 2020.…

Costa Rica adds 35 coronavirus cases, surpasses 700 recoveries
Costa Rica
20360 views
Costa Rica
20360 views

Costa Rica adds 35 coronavirus cases, surpasses 700 recoveries

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 6, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 35 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 1,263 cumulative known cases, the Health…

How to find a maxillofacial surgeon in Costa Rica
Dental Tourism
1654 views
Dental Tourism
1654 views

How to find a maxillofacial surgeon in Costa Rica

James Madigan / Costa Rica Dental Guide - June 6, 2020

Maxillofacial surgery to correct facial pain caused by joint disorders, facial trauma, and for cosmetic or restorative dentistry is a…