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trade
(10/06/07) -

Anti-CAFTA Side Gains Before Costa Rican Vote

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A commerce treaty with the United States, the Dominican Republic and other Central American nations could be rejected by voters in Costa Rica, according to a poll by Unimer published in La Nación. 55 per cent of respondents would vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in tomorrow’s referendum.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A commerce treaty with the United States, the Dominican Republic and other Central American nations could be rejected by voters in Costa Rica, according to a poll by Unimer published in La Nación. 55 per cent of respondents would vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in tomorrow’s referendum.

In May 2004, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua agreed to the CAFTA with the U.S. The Dominican Republic followed suit in August. The agreement—which would reduce or eliminate taxes and tariffs on imports—must be approved by each country’s legislative branch. To date, Costa Rica remains the only country that has not ratified the CAFTA.

Óscar Arias—a member of the National Liberation Party (PLN)—won the February 2006 presidential election with 40.92 per cent of all cast ballots. He was sworn in as president for the second time in May 2006. Arias supports the CAFTA but promised to put its ratification to a nationwide vote. The plebiscite—which can only be binding if at least 40 per cent of all registered voters take part—is scheduled for tomorrow.

On Oct. 4, U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "It is difficult to imagine any U.S. administration re-negotiating the current agreement or negotiating a new trade agreement with Costa Rica if this agreement is rejected. The opportunity for Costa Rica to enjoy the benefits of regional free trade is now."

Polling Data

How would you vote on the referendum to ratify the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)?
(Decided Voters)

 

Oct. 2

Sept. 26

Sept. 18

Yes

43%

50.6%

49.1%

No

55%

44.7%

46.3%

No reply

2%

4.7%

4.6%

Source: Unimer / La Nación
Methodology: Interviews with 1,202 Costa Rican adults, conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2, 2007. Margin of error is 3.7 per cent.