As president, Trump probably would review free trade treaty

Costa Ricans who opposed passage of a free trade treaty with the United States might have a second chance.

Costa Rican voters narrowly approved the multinational agreement Oct. 7, 2007.

Now Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for U.S. president, and he repeated his vow Thursday night to reconsider all the trade treaties between the United States and foreign countries.

He specifically mentioned the North American Free Trade Agreement, but not the U.S-Central American agreement. Trump drew cheers as he adopted a non-Republican stand against free trade. That has been one of the themes of his campaign for the nomination.

For decades, U.S. officials have seen trade agreements as a way of helping development in Third World nations.  The free trade agreement opened up the cell telephone market to private

companies in Costa Rica, but United States firms did not benefit.

The agreement probably could not stand up to a critical review. For example, Costa Rica still assesses a heavy import duty on foreign vehicles. The country has claimed that the assessment is not a customs duty but an internal tax, and U.S. negotiators agreed with that position.

The proliferation of call centers and customer support jobs in Costa Rica also might get a review, as will outsourcing elsewhere because of Trump’s stress on bringing jobs back to the United States.

A Trump presidency also probably will bring stronger scrutiny on the various State Department and law enforcement programs that channel money into Costa Rica and other countries.

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