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Costa Rica’s Legislature on Tuesday approved in second and final debate an overhaul to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mexico aimed at spurring trade between the  Costa Rica and its neighbours.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Mexico and Costa Rica’s existing 1995 treaty will be merged with Mexico’s covenants with Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, to stimulate regional trade.

“The approval of this agreement is an important step in the consolidation and expansion of trade and investment flows between Costa Rica and Mexico. This FTA is the result of a convergence process which improved customs procedures that favour the accumulation of origin and trade facilitation, were modernized provisions on investment, services, government procurement and intellectual property”, said the Costa Rican Trade Ministe, Anabel Gonzalez, who highlighted the work of the legislatos.

Gonzalez is competing to be the next director general of the World Trade Organization.

Trade between Costa Rica and Mexico grew 10% a year between 2000-2011, generating US$1.4 billion, according to Costa Rica’s foreign trade ministry.

The update to the treaty comes a week after new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visited Costa Rica, taking part in the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) meetings held in San José – where he met with his counterpart Laura Chinchilla and urged the Costa Rica’s legislators to approve the revised treaty, originally signed in 2011.

During his visit, Peña also met with heads of state from Panama, Honduras and Guatemala, and told reporters that he had discussed the possibility of including Panama, the region’s booming economy, within the terms of the treaty.

Central America is the fourth Mexican investment destination in Latin America.

By its geographical proximity, particularly for the South-East of Mexico, Central America represents, as a region, an important markets.


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