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Free trade agreement

FINALLY….United States President George Bush issued a proclamation Tuesday to implement the Central American Free Trade Treaty with Costa Rica.  This was the last action necessary to bring the agreement into force Jan. 1, 2009.

Certification was a Christmas present for many in Costa Rica. Costa Rica notified Washington earlier that all was prepared here for the treaty to take force. This was done in an exchange of diplomatic notes. Some 13 pieces of legislation were passed to conform local law to what was required in the treaty.

The Costa Rica customs service is known for setting its own rules. Officials already have said that U.S. manufactured automobiles and trucks still would be subject to a heavy import tax. Costa Rican officials characterize this tax, which may be as much as 90 percent of the vehicle’s value and shipment costs as what they call an internal tax. The U.S. Embassy commercial staffers seem to be in agreement.

It will however effect those of us that are at the mercy of the monopolies which have control of the electricity, insurance, internet and phone services.  Much needed competition will finally open up in Costa Rica giving us expats choices when it comes to these services.

While not all of the native Costa Ricans think this is a good thing, coming from the US where ALL companies have competition in their field thus making them work for their money, many are happy to see this free trade agreement finally passed and put into work.

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