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U.S. or E.U.? Tico politicos split over best foreign investor

Tico Times, Costa Rica

U.S. or E.U.? Tico politicos split over best foreign investor

8 April 2008

Costa Rican lawmakers are divided over who makes a better investor in their country, the United States or the European Union, according to a recent questionnaire.

A study called “Costa Rica 2006-2010,” conducted by the University of Salamanca in Spain, asked members of the Legislative Assembly here questions to test the waters on issues of investment and trade preferences. It found legislators are split: while 39% went with U.S. businesses as preferred foreign investors, the same percentage favored Europeans.

Another 12% preferred Asian investors.

The poll found just over half, or 53%, of legislators support the free-trade agreement with the United States, or CAFTA, a treaty that Costa Ricans approved by referendum last October but has faced a slow passing through the assembly’s bill-by-bill vote. One in three assembly members disapprove of CAFTA, according to the Spanish study.

In foreign affairs, 47% said their immediate region, Central America, should come first, while 23% said greater Latin America is a priority.

About eight out of 10 said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the state of Costa Rica’s democratic system.