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trade
(08/01/07) -

Many Costa Ricans Still Favour CAFTA

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Costa Rica would like to ratify a pending commerce deal, according to a poll by CID-Gallup. 44 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of ratifying the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in this year’s referendum.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Costa Rica would like to ratify a pending commerce deal, according to a poll by CID-Gallup. 44 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of ratifying the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in this year’s referendum.

Conversely, 38 per cent of respondents would vote against the agreement—up six months since April—and 18 per cent are either undecided or would not take part in the plebiscite.

In May 2004, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua agreed to the CAFTA with the United States. 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 CAFTA.

“scar 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 for the second time in May 2006. Arias supports the CAFTA and expects to have it ratified by the end of this year.

On Apr. 13, Arias announced that Costa Ricans would be asked in a referendum whether they want the country to ratify the CAFTA or not. The plebiscite—which can only be binding if at least 40 per cent of all registered voters take part—is scheduled for Oct. 7.

On Jul. 25, opposition leader Ott³n Solis of the Citizens’ Action Party (PAC) said he wants to renegotiate the deal before ratifying it. Sol­s claimed that current rules in the agreement would give foreign investors access to independent tribunals, allow imports of subsidized U.S. farm goods that would push local farmers out of work, and hamper existing environmental legislation. Sol­s referred to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—which includes Canada, the U.S. and Mexico—declaring, “If NAFTA has been such a success, then why is the U.S. building a wall along the border with Mexico?”

Polling Data

How would you vote in the referendum on the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)?

Jul. 2007

Apr. 2007

In favour

44%

45%

Against

38%

32%

Other / Not sure

18%

23%

Source: CID-Gallup
Methodology: Interviews with 1,192 Costa Rican adults, conducted from Jul. 14 to Jul. 21, 2007. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.