QCOSTARICA – Within the Economic Council of Government Luis Guillermo Solís’ ministers are divided with some favoring openness to international trade, and others wanting to protect vulnerable sectors
The Ministry of Foreign Trade, which is in favor of accession, of Costa Rica to the Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance), made up of México, Colombia, Peru and Chile, argues that there are free trade agreements with member countries of the Alliance, meaning that they would only be strengthening commercial ties.
Currently an observer country, Costa Rica began the process of joining the Alliance on 10 February 2014. Other Central American observer countries are EL Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama (also in the process of becoming a full member).
On the other side, the Agricultural lobby is against it and states that accession would mean that sectors which have been protected in these agreements would be left vulnerable.
The Minister of Agriculture, Luis Felipe Arauz told Crhoy.com that “… the policies for the Agricultural Sector and Development of Rural Areas 2015-2018, could not be made if Costa Rica signs up to accession to the block, because this would affect a large number of vulnerable sectors, among which are rice, coffee, swine, beef cattle, ornamental flowers and strawberry growers. You can’t just completely open up the market and throw overboard the negotiation process which is already underway. ”
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Alexander Mora, said “… The signing of the declaration in February is the starting signal for a transparent and consultative process which will pave the way for the next Presidential Summit of the Pacific Alliance to be held in June 2015. ”