San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Obama Renews C.R.’s Sweet Sugar Deal

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a proclamation to reinstate preferential treatment for Costa Rican sugar, the White House said Monday, June 14.

The sugar quota was suspended due to Costa Rica’s delays in enacting a reform required under the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) adopted in January 2009, according to the statement..

Outstanding copyright reforms prompted the U.S. to block the key sugar deal in January this year.

After Costa Rican legislators approved the controversial law in April of this year, the country regained preferential treatment on June 15. This reactivates the export quota of 13,880 annual metric tons of tariff-free sugar and sugar-containing goods a year to the U.S.

Sugar producers and trade officials celebrated the announcement. “We’re very satisfied with this result, which allows Costa Rica to take advantage of the benefits of the agreement,” said Anabel González, Costa Rica’s foreign trade minister.

The country’s sugar sector lost an estimated $1 million as a result of the quota’s suspension, according to Edgar Herrera, executive director of the national sugar cane association, LAICA.

Herrera said LAICA represents more than 12,000 producers and 15 mills, and that sugar is a $200 million industry in Costa Rica.

–Alex Leff

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