Free Trade

Tighty-Whitey Trade

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In the face of stagnant wages, corporate downsizing, and economic anxiety in general, at least one question has been answered: The $12 trillion U.S. economy can indeed survive imports of underwear from Costa Rica. That's the conclusion of a preliminary report by the World Trade Organization. The report followed a 1995 decision by the United States to impose quotas on underwear imports from the Central American nation to protect the domestic textile industry. The report found that the United States failed to demonstrate that Costa Rican imports seriously hurt the industry. Washington still has time to cut a face-saving deal with Costa Rica before a final WTO decision. The United States also could choose to ignore the decision.