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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 144
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As president, Trump probably would review free trade treaty
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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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.


Plans advancing for rebuilding the iconic Black Star Line in Limón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the country’s top architectural firms is preparing the preliminary plans to rebuild the Black Star Line, the historic Limón building nearly destroyed by fire April 29.

Ronald Zürcher, president of Zürcher Arquitectos, was quoted by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud saying that the firm was working for the benefit of all Costa Ricans.

Right after the fire, the firm had representatives in Limón to evaluate the damage and to meet with government officials and the building owner, the  Universal Negro Improvement Association. The ministry said Thursday that a series of architectural drawings already have been completed. What is still to be done are the construction plans.

Immediately after the fire, government officials promised to help rebuild the structure, which initially went up in 1922. The Black Star Line was declared a heritage building in 2000. The building was rebuilt once before after the 1991 earthquake. The two-story frame structure was the headquarters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association created and directed by Marcus Garvey. The name came from the steamship company Garvey created in 1919.

The second floor was a large hall that saw a number of the
Black Star
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The Black Star Line after the April 29 fire.

municipality’s social events. Fire fighters said they managed to save 385 square meters of the 1,525-square meter building. That’s 4,144 of 16,415 square feet.

The cause was believed to be electrical.

The association has started a campaign titles “Rebuild a Dream, Liberty Hall Black Star Line.”



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