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Viewing cable 06SANJOSE132, CODEL BURTON ENGAGES GOCR ON CAFTA-DR AND U.S.

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06SANJOSE132 2006-01-19 21:09 2011-03-03 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2697430.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2697496.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697489.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697532.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2697535.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2701964.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-03/Investigacion/Relacionados/Investigacion2701965.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0132/01 0192118
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 192118Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4052
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 1708
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000132 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
WHA/CEN 
EB FOR WCRAFT, BLAMPRON 
E FOR DEDWARDS 
WHA FOR WMIELE 
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS, LGUMBINER 
H FOR JHAGAN 
STTE PASS TO USTR FOR RVARGO, NMORRJANI, AMALITO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OREP ETRD EAGR PREL PGOV CS
SUBJECT: CODEL BURTON ENGAGES GOCR ON CAFTA-DR AND U.S. 
MEAT AND POULTRY INSPECTION 
 
REF: A. 05 SAN JOSE 423 
 
     B. 05 SAN JOSE 933 
 
Summary 
-------- 
1.  In his third visit to Costa Rica in a year (see reftels 
for previous visits), Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) met 
with President Pacheco, several members of his cabinet, key 
legislators, and Pacheco's probable successor as president, 
Oscar Arias.  As in previous visits, discussions focused on 
the ratification and implementation of the U.S.-Central 
American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). 
Costa Rican agriculture and foreign trade officials used the 
visit to argue that CAFTA-DR did not explicitly require Costa 
Rica to recognize the safety standards of the U.S. meat and 
poultry inspection system and therefore such recognition 
should not be a condition of the treaty's entry into force. 
End Summary. 
 
2.  Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman of the House 
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, visited Costa Rica 
January 10-12 together with an agricultural trade mission 
from Indiana headed by Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman. 
They met with Agriculture Minister Rodolfo Coto and Acting 
Foreign Trade Minister Doris Osterlof.  See septels for 
Burton's separate meetings with President Pacheco, 
presidential candidate Oscar Arias, Minister of Public 
Security Rogelio Ramos, and legislative leaders. 
 
Minister of Agriculture 
----------------------- 
3.  Lt. Governor Skillman made the point that U.S. and Costa 
Rican agricultural products were complementary, not in 
competition.  She said Indiana exported yellow corn and 
soybeans vital to Costa Rica's poultry and dairy industries. 
Coto agreed, noting that the United States was Costa Rica's 
principal market for agricultural products, including 
bananas, coffee, pineapples, melons, sugar, yucca, and 
ornamental plants.  He said that CAFTA-DR was important to 
Costa Rica to ensure permanent access to the U.S. market. 
 
4.  Coto then cited a number of trade problems: (1) rice, 
produced in both countries and a staple in Costa Rica, is 
subsidized in the United States, creating problems for local 
producers; (2) the opening of Costa Rica's telecommunications 
and insurance sectors, required under CAFTA-DR, was "a 
sensitive matter and needed to be managed carefully;" and (3) 
the requirement that Costa Rica recognize the U.S. meat and 
poultry inspection system and "automatically" approve U.S. 
federally inspected meat and poultry products is not part of 
CAFTA-DR and therefore should not be imposed on Costa Rica. 
Coto said that if Costa Rica recognized the U.S. inspection 
system, which is often referred to as "equivalency," it would 
have to do the same for other CAFTA-DR countries. 
 
5.  Representative Burton noted that the U.S. inspection 
system had the highest standards of quality and safety in the 
world.  The safety of the U.S. food supply, he believed, was 
second to none.  Burton promised nevertheless to communicate 
Coto's concerns to his colleagues and to USTR in Washington. 
 
Acting Minister of Foreign Trade 
-------------------------------- 
6.  In a separate meeting, Osterlof said that although the 
United States was already Costa Rica's biggest market, there 
was room for expansion.  She said that her ministry was in 
the midst of reviewing its marketing strategy in the United 
States and was considering opening two or three new offices 
around the country apart from the office that already exists 
in Miami.  Osterlof repeated Coto's complaint that the United 
States was "imposing requirements" on Central American 
countries that were not part of CAFTA-DR.  Opponents of the 
treaty, she said, argue that Costa Rica should not give 
concessions to the United States without getting anything in 
return; they use such arguments to delay ratification and to 
urge renegotiation of the treaty. 
 
7.  Representative Burton responded that renegotiation of 
CAFTA-DR was out of the question, though some "fine-tuning" 
of the treaty was possible after ratification.  He said it 
was important that Costa Rica not delay in ratifying and 
implementing CAFTA-DR because it was unlikely that the 
 
country would continue to receive Caribbean Basin Initiative 
(CBI) benefits. 
 
Press Coverage 
-------------- 
8.  CODEL Burton was widely covered in the press, including 
an interview that covered more than half a page in the 
January 13 edition of "La Nacion."  In the interview, Burton 
focused on the need to combat leftist influence in the 
hemisphere with investment, economic growth, and jobs.  In 
another interview, which appeared in the business newspaper 
"El Finaciero" on January 16, Burton cautioned that if Costa 
Rica does not join CAFTA-DR within two years of the 
entry-into-force date of treaty, it might have to stay out. 
 
Comment 
------- 
9.  Regarding equivalency, it was highly unusual that the 
Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Trade coordinated to 
deliver a message to the United States.  This was the first 
time that Costa Rican officials denied that the GOCR had made 
a commitment during the CAFTA-DR negotiations to undertake an 
equivalency determination with respect to the U.S. meat and 
poultry inspection system.  In past contacts with AGATT, 
working-level officials certainly stalled and came up with 
various excuses for the lack of progress toward equivalency 
(including the political difficulty of the task), but they 
never disavowed the commitment. 
LANGDALE