The United States says the start of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement will be delayed.

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday that the target date for implementation has been pushed back to either the beginning of February or March. The pact had been set to go into effect this Sunday, January 1.

The spokesman said the United States wants to begin the agreement as soon as possible, but needs to make sure it is done correctly.

The agreement, known as CAFTA, is meant to cut or get rid of tariffs between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Costa Rica is the only country that has yet to ratify the pact.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.