Luis Guillermo Solís (left) and Xi Jinping (right) in Beijing.

QCOSTA RICA – China and Costa Rica signed on Tuesday, following a meeting between Presidents Luis Guillermo Solís and Xi Jinping, an agreement o start work on a special economic zone in the country to assist the development of regions, following models that have been successful in Asia.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Manuel González and his Chinese counterpart, Gao Hucheng, signed the agreement at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The document marks the beginning of bilateral feasibility studies for the future location of the special area, which is expected to be in less developed regions in the coastal area of the Caribbean or Pacific.

The two countries also signed a protocol that is intended to encourage the export of Costa Rican shrimp to the Asian market.

“In these years, our ties have grown and have shown beyond doubt that the FTA (in force since 2011) was instrumental in our relations,” said Solis, pointing out that cultural ties between the two countries date back to the nineteenth century, thanks to Asian immigration to Latin America.

President Solís did not mention in Tuesday’s public speeches about the Limón refinery (paralyzed since 2013 due to irregularities in the contract) or the restoration and expansion of Ruta 32, the road between San José and Limón.

However, the Costa Rica delegation told the media that the two projects are on the agenda of talks between the two countries, not only between the two presidents, but also in meetings at the ministerial and business levels throughout the week.

In the first day of public activities of his official trip to China, Solís received an honorary doctorate by the People’s University in Beijing, where he presided over the inauguration of the Centre for Latin American Studies at the campus.

Solís and Xi Jinping will also officially open the  China-CELAC forum in Beijing that opens in Beijing on Thursday. Costa Rica holds the pro-tempore presidency of the CELAC, when it passes to Peru at the end of this month.


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