Costa Rica Yet to Ratify CAFTA

Most developed Central American country threatens to wait until next February before signing the pact based on U.S. reluctance to ratify the agreement.

The White House has been hit with another obstacle in its efforts to ratify the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Reports indicate that Costa Rica, the most-developed of the six nations in the pact, is balking at ratifying the trade agreement.

One of the White House's chief arguments for the pact is the benefits it could bring to the impoverished regions of Central America. Costa Rica's delay adds another reason for those in Congress opposed to CAFTA to keep the pact from being ratified in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Costa Rica may not vote on a pact until after the presidential election, scheduled for next February. With the long delay and reluctance of Costa Rica to follow El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in ratifying the pact. Questionable U.S. support in Congress has "allowed the opposition to the trade pact in Costa Rica to gain momentum," WSJ reports.

Costa Rica opposition is lead by trade unions, some farm groups and even some business leaders. Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic haven't yet signed the accord, but they are expected to do so shortly.

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