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CAFTA: Costa Rica Balks at U.S. Trade Demands [View All]

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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-16-03 06:59 PM
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CAFTA: Costa Rica Balks at U.S. Trade Demands
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Costa Rica Balks at U.S. Trade Demands

The Bush administration's drive to reach a free trade agreement with five Central American countries suffered a setback Tuesday when Costa Rica balked at U.S. demands and said it needed more time before it would be ready to complete a deal.


The Bush administration hopes to use a successful free trade deal with Central America to re-energize discussions over a bigger goal - creation of the world's largest free trade area covering the 34 democracies in the Western Hemisphere. Those talks have snagged over disputes between Brazil and the United States on how comprehensive the free trade agreement should be.


Costa Rica withdrew from the bargaining Tuesday over U.S. demands that it open up various service sectors, including telecommunications and insurance, to foreign competition.

``Obviously services is a critical issue for us,'' Richard Mills, a spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, told reporters. ``Costa Rica has a monopoly in telecommunications and insurance ... so these issues have to be addressed.''

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