Foreign aid program cost jobs, congressman says study shows

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Democratic congressman made public yesterday a study o an American foreign aid program, saying it demonstrated how financing provided by the Reagan and Bush administrations was used to subsidize the movement of manufacturing jobs to Central America from the United States.

The survey, by the Price Waterhouse accounting concern, was of 25 companies, foreign as well as American, that opened plants in Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990. It found that 20 of the concerns had decided to do so as a result of efforts by a Costa Rican trade group that receives funds from the Agency for International Development.

At least 10 of the companies said they had not considered manufacturing in a less-developed country until they were approached by the group, the Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives.

Results of the survey were made public by Rep. George E. Brown Jr. of California, who said more than a dozen American companies had been interviewed. The study gave no precise number.

The survey was commissioned by AID as part of an audit of the Costa Rican group. The study did not examine how many American jobs might have been lost as a result of the companies' decisions to manufacture in Costa Rica.

President Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle have denied that the administration has subsidized the relocation of manufacturing jobs to Central America and the Caribbean. Rather, Bush administration officials say, the foreign aid program is meant to recruit American companies that are already planning to expand overseas, steering them toward Central America and the Caribbean instead of the Far East.

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