QCOSTARICA – The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, and that of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, highlighted the importance of the free trade agreement they signed, as a tool to promote development.
Lasso visited Costa Rica on Wednesday, March 1, to sign the trade agreement with Costa Rica and to participate in a forum to promote itself to Costa Rican businessmen.
The Ecuadorian president met with his Costa Rican counterpart to review issues on the bilateral agenda, such as the environment and trade, as well as regional issues such as the situation of the Pacific Alliance and the upcoming summit of the Alliance for Development in Democracy.
“After very effective work by our corresponding ministries, we are going to have the milestone of signing this agreement. This is a very positive step to reaffirm our commitment as countries, but it is also a signal to the world of democracies that we share the idea, the notion, the ideal that the private sector should generate wealth together with the public sector,” Chaves said in a press conference.
Chaves added that the two countries share the ideal of equal opportunities for citizens, equity and shared prosperity, along with trade.
For his part, Lasso stressed that the trade agreement means “integrating the economies between two Latin American countries and hermanos (brothers), which are neighbors by the ocean and also share the vocation for sustainable development.”
On December 19, Costa Rica and Ecuador successfully concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement, a process that began last August and required four rounds of talks.
The pact now must be ratified by the Legislative branch of each country for it to enter into force.
According to the Costa Rican government, the treaty provides an “adequate balance that reasonably meets the interests of both parties” and will allow free trade for “more than 90% of the products.”
The agreement also incorporates provisions related to gender equity, good regulatory practices, and strengthening of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and includes 97% of Ecuadorian products and more than 90% of Costa Rican products.
Excluded from the treaty, by mutual agreement, are dairy products, bananas, pineapples and other fruits.
Lasso commented that it is also a “first step” to strengthen relations between South America and Central America and stressed that Costa Rica and Ecuador are “complementary economies that seek to integrate into global trade and value chains.”
Official data indicated that the commercial exchange between Costa Rica and Ecuador in 2021 reached US$74.6 million dollars, of which US$49.8 million correspond to Costa Rican exports and US$24.8 to Ecuadorian.
At present, the main export products from Costa Rica to Ecuador are scrap metal, medicines, electronic materials, tires, cardboard, and a series of industrial materials.
For its part, Ecuador sells to Costa Rica mainly prepared and preserved fish, fresh fish, steel wire, medicines, textiles and shrimp, among others.
This will be Costa Rica’s fourth free trade agreement with a South American nation, already having agreements with Colombia, Peru, and Chile.