Costa Rica and Colombia officials resumed free trade talks today (Monday), entering the final stage of negotiations addressing the most sensitive issues for both countries.

The agreement had been hoped to have been concluded last December.

This is the fourth round of talks and may be the last, however, much depends on “striking a balance between offensive and defensive interests for domestic production,” said the the director general of Foreign Trade, Ricardo Zuñiga.

The trade talks are expected to continue throughout the week amid strong pressure from various business sectors.

Zuñiga said a deal will not be signed until the  sensitivities of the different sectors are met, because the goal is of an agreement with that benefits trade.

The trade deal also opens up Costa Rica to becoming a full member of the Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance), a Latin American bloc formally launched on June 2012 in Chile’s Paranal Observatory at the organization’s fourth summit. It groups Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The four nations of the Pacific Alliance represent about 36% of Latin America GDP, and if counted as a single country they would be the ninth largest economy in the world.

On the table is also the elimination of visa requirements for Colombians coming to Costa Rica.

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