Free-Trade Agreement Controversies Continue

February 27, 2004

THE Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) this week issued a statement saying the U.S.-Central America Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA) requires only a simple majority of 29 of 57 votes in the Legislative Assembly to be ratified.

In recent weeks, legislators and legal analysts have argued about how many votes CAFTA needs to be approved here.

Under Costa Rican law, the approval of laws that don’t affect the country’s Constitution require only 29 votes in favor. Reforms to the constitution require a qualified majority of 39 votes.

In general, CAFTA proponents have argued the treaty requires only a simple majority. Opponents of CAFTA have said the treaty requires a qualified majority since it will dramatically change the country by opening its telecommunications and insurance monopolies (TT, Oct. 31, Dec. 19, 2003) and require the country make significant legislative changes.

Despite these arguments, the Supreme Court has not issued a formal ruling on the number of votes CAFTA needs to be approved.

AmCham and its sister organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua represent approximately 80% of U.S. businesses that invest in Central America.

AmCham Costa Rica also announced it was “very pleased” with U.S. President George W. Bush’s decision to formally notify the U.S. Congress about the conclusion of CAFTA negotiations (TT Daily Page, Feb. 25).

In related news, Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, the country’s secondlargest public university, has publicly come out against CAFTA, calling its potential approval and implementation a “coup d’ etat.”

According to Henry Mora, of UNA’s School of Economics, CAFTA is part of a neo-liberal ideology backed by nearly all the country’s business sector and conservative politicians, which attempts to impose a specific world vision in a nondemocratic manner.

Approving CAFTA would violate the country’s Constitution, Mora said this week.

 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
139 views
sports
139 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
169 views
Human rights
169 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week
The Alvarado Administration
199 views
The Alvarado Administration
199 views

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week

The Tico Times - May 21, 2018

Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…