San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

State Dept. Representative Talks Trade, Security

President Oscar Arias met with an official of the U.S. State Department this week to discuss trade and security cooperation plans, including the construction of a U.S.- funded Coast Guard station on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

“We talked about security cooperation, and about democracy in the region,” said Kirsten D. Madison, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

“We also discussed CAFTA (the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States) and the importance of the historic opportunity that Costa Rica has to join its neighboring countries in an agreement and a partnership with the United States.”

Madison urged Costa Rica to stay the course toward passing implementation laws for CAFTA, approved here by referendum on Oct. 7 but slower than in the other signatory countries to take effect.

“We recognize that there is a process underway in Costa Rica’s legislature and we hope that that process will soon be completed because this really is the last opportunity we have to join all Central America together in a very important trading relationship with each other and with the United States,” she said.

Arias was vague about the meeting. “She will go to the United States Congress to seek a bit of economic assistance for countries in Central American,”Arias said, according to a Casa Presidencial press release.

After the meeting with Arias, Madison on Wednesday visited Puntarenas, on the central Pacific shore, where the United States plans to help finance a new Coast Guard station for Costa Rica, she said.

“The U.S. government hopes to be able to help construct a new Coast Guard station and maintenance center in Caldera,” Madison said.

She also visited Sardimar, a successful seafood company in Puntarenas.


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