That was before the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) decided that the lawmakers had missed a step in procedure and sent back the environmental law that had been passed only weeks before. Twelve similar CAFTA-enablement laws had been passed and are on the books, not without bitter debate and some difficulty, including the strenuously contested one to open telecommunications and another striking down the government insurance monopoly.
Vice President Laura Chinchilla, while acting in the absence of President Oscar Arias who was on diplomatic tour, vowed to apply to the other member nations in the trade pact for an extension on the pact’s deadline of Sept. 30. The other nations, including the Dominican Republic, all passed ratified the pact quickly, even in the United States where the Democrats opposed it. Costa Rica is the only one that has had to ask an extension (that will run out in a few days) and it is unknown if another extension is possible.
Meanwhile, the daily paper La Nacion noted that the textile firm Casino group, had invested $4.5 million in creating three plants and importing machinery in the last three years. They had high hopes of export of undershorts and socks to the United States free of import duties. Now they, and other investors like them, have new investment on hold. This also means that hiring is also on hold. Currently under the so-called Caribbean Basin Initiative, they pay 17% and 25% import duties that would be eliminated by CAFTA.
Textile companies had invested millions of dollars in creating new plants here in the hope of exporting clothing tariff-free into the Unites States.
That was before the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) decided that the lawmakers had missed a step in procedure and sent back the environmental law that had been passed only weeks before.
Costa will ask the United States this week for an extension without a deadline to approve the last law required for CAFTA to come into force.
"I will see if they accept that when we make the pertinent modifications, which the Constitutional Court recommended, the commercial agreement will finally come into force," declared Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica, in statements published in the La Prensa Libre newspaper.
Costa Rica received a new indefinite extension to fully approve all the requirements of the FTA with the United States (CAFTA).
Yesterday in New York, the presidents of the countries which have signed the agreement endorsed the procedure with which the Legislative Assembly will amend the last project of the implementation agenda and granted a new extension on the term which was set to expire next Tuesday.
Trade in some of the countries involved has grown by 20 percent since the introduction two years ago of the Cafta accord between the United States and Central America and the Dominican Republic, according to US Department of Trade figures.
The Cafta countries – excluding Costa Rica, which las a latecomer to the pact – by the end of last year had registered exports of US18.75 billion to the United States, while recording imports of close on US$22.41 billion.
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