Skip to content
October 5th, 2007
Representatives Grijalva and Sánchez to Introduce Legislation to Make Trade Benefits Permanent for Costa Rica

Bush administration’s bullying tactics on CAFTA referendum denounced

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and Linda Sánchez today announced plans to introduce legislation to make permanent trade benefits for nearly two dozen countries, including Costa Rica. This announcement comes at the culmination of a nearly two year campaign by the Bush administration to use the false threat of trade preference expiration to pressure Costa Rica into ratifying the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Bush’s trade representative, Susan Schwab, made this threat again on Wednesday – the last day before a three-day media blackout in Costa Rica ahead of Sunday’s referendum on CAFTA.

“It is the sovereign right of Costa Ricans to decide whether or not to ratify CAFTA in their historic popular referendum. I only wish the people of the United States and the other CAFTA nations had the opportunity to directly vote on the Agreement as well,” said Grijalva. “This bill makes clear that Costa Ricans can make a decision on CAFTA democratically, without being threatened and misled by the Bush Administration.”

“The fact is, almost all of Costa Rica’s duty-free U.S. market access is already permanent under U.S. law set by the U.S. Congress – the body constitutionally responsible for making U.S. trade policy,” said, Representative Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), the bill’s co-sponsor. “The Bush administration is simply not legally empowered to remove these benefits if Costa Ricans reject CAFTA. The American public looks forward to continuing its close relationship with the Costa Rican people regardless of how the country votes, and we are showing that in our legislation to make permanent the small part of Costa Rica’s trade preferences that would have been renewed next year.”

The Representatives drafted the legislation in direct response to a statement by U.S. Ambassador Susan C. Schwab on Thursday, October 4 suggesting that CBTPA benefits that were expiring in 2008 might not be renewed. Grijalva dismissed Schwab’s threat, noting, “This legislation demonstrates the strong support of Congress for CBI add-on preferences, which should never have been cast in doubt. We want to make it clear that CAFTA and CBTPA are separate questions.”

Back To News