Update on U.S.-Costa Rica Sugar Controversy

Last Updated Jan 25, 2010 12:05 PM EST

Correction: it seems the United States is indeed blocking sugar imports from Costa Rica until the Central American country passes the intellectual property laws required by CAFTA. Despite what I said last week, the two are directly connected -- a Tico Times journalist contacted me and provided this quote from a spokesperson at the U.S. embassy:
When Costa Rica finishes all of the CAFTA-DR implementation, then market access for sugar under CAFTA-DR rules will be restored and Costa Rica can still use the full year of its trade quota for sugar.
In the meantime, nearly 12,000 tons of sugar are waiting in storage in Costa Rica [link in Spanish], held up by the copyright law.

Costa Rica has passed all of the other legislation required by the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but the intellectual property protections have faced fierce protest from the health, media and education sectors. CAFTA itself was controversial in the country and passed by an extremely narrow margin.

  • Katherine Glover