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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 6, 2007

Statement by the Press Secretary Regarding U.S. Trade with Costa Rica

On October 7, Costa Rica's citizens will exercise their sovereign right in determining whether to approve a free trade agreement with the United States. This trade agreement, which has been approved by the United States Congress and entered into force for all other participating countries, would expand Costa Rica's access to the U.S. market, safeguard that access under international law, attract U.S. and other investment, and link Costa Rica to some of the most dynamic economies of our Hemisphere.

In order to dispel any confusion that may have been created by communications from other sources in the United States, the Administration wishes to clarify two points. If the free trade agreement is rejected, the United States will not renegotiate the agreement signed by the Government of Costa Rica as it is part of an agreement with a broad group of Central American countries. The United States has never renegotiated a free trade agreement that has been approved by the Congress.

With respect to trade preferences provided under the Caribbean Basin Initiative which will expire in September 2008, the United States has never before confronted the question of extending unilateral trade preferences to a country that has rejected a reciprocal trade agreement.

Voters in Costa Rica should be aware that many of those assuring Costa Rica of continued access to the U.S. market have consistently opposed measures that would open the U.S. market to goods from Costa Rica and other countries, whether through trade agreements or through trade preference programs.

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