Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX) has announced that its updated free trade agreement (FTA) with Mexico, and a new trade treaty with Singapore, both entered into force on July 1.

To increase further trade and investment between the two countries, Costa Rica’s FTA with Mexico improves the agreement signed in 1994. It now forms part of the Mexico-Central American FTA signed in November 2011, which consolidates the previously-separate treaties Mexico had with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua into one agreement and, it is hoped, will also stimulate intra-regional trade.

COMEX has disclosed that, during the last decade, bilateral trade between Costa Rica and Mexico has shown an average annual rise of 12.6 percent, from USD511m in 2002 to almost USD1.5bn in 2012, although Mexico exports to Costa Rica are still more than three times as much as those in the opposite direction. In addition, at USD350m in 2012, Mexico became the second largest investor in Costa Rica.

The bilateral FTA, signed by Costa Rica and Singapore in April 2010, which also became effective on the same date, is a broad-based and comprehensive agreement, covering issues such as trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, technical barriers to trade, competition policy, trade in services, investment, e-commerce, intellectual property rights and dispute settlement.

Costa Rica will eliminate import duties on 90.6 percent of its imports from Singapore, with the tariff on the remaining products to be eliminated over a period of 10 years (with a provision for acceleration, if subsequently agreed). On its part, Singapore will be granting immediate duty free access for all imports from Costa Rica.

In a statement, COMEX confirmed that Costa Rica already has a surplus in its trade balance with Singapore. During the period between 2002 and last year, Costa Rican exports to Singapore reported an average annual growth of 45.7 percent to USD746.1m, while its imports from Singapore reached only USD33m.

By Mike Godfrey,



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