San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Second CAFTA Bill Passes Legislature

Legislators passed the second of 11 bills required to implement the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) this week.

Under the bill, companies that engage in corruption will be shut down for up to five years and their concession cancelled. People who bribe public officials, as well as officials who accept bribes, will go to jail for two to eight years. The bill also protects people who expose corruption.

The bill was approved unanimously Wednesday in one of the assembly´s three 19-member committees that have the power to pass laws. Legislators from the anti-CAFTA Citizen Action Party (PAC), voted for the bill, which will become law once President Oscar Arias signs it.

Last month, legislators passed the first CAFTA bill, which will regulate the relationship between foreign firms and their representatives in the United States. The remaining nine CAFTA bills are more controversial.


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