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Costa Rica Has 3 More Months to Join Free Trade Pact

The United States and five Central American countries participating in a free trade pact have extended the deadline for Costa Rica to join the group.

The countries gave Costa Rica three more months to join the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) after San Jose failed to meet Wednesday's deadline to pass all the legislation required to become a member.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said at a press conference in Costa Rica Tuesday that the Bush administration fully supports Costa Rica joining the trade agreement.

Costa Rican lawmakers are now working to pass 13 pieces of legislation, including a law on intellectual property rights, required to enter the pact.

The trade group includes Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.