QCOSTARICA – The Government of Carlos Alvarado, on Wednesday, urged Costa Rican transporters that have maintained a blockade at Paso Canoas border with Panama since last August 5, to put down their protest and give priority to the search for a solution through dialogue.
Carriers are demanding that the government take steps to suppress alleged competitive advantages given to their foreign counterparts.
The protesters are trying to prevent export companies from freely choosing who to hire to transport their goods. On this request, various chambers of industries have spoken out against it.
In this regard, the Vice Minister of the Presidency, Randall Otárola, assured that “the demands that the group has transferred to us contravene international norms and what the figures indicate is that the trade of Costa Rican carriers to Panama in recent months has increased”.
Otárola added: “We make a very clear and emphatic call for them to take down the movement, prioritize dialogue and seek a solution that does not affect third parties.”
The president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries (ICRC), Enrique Egloff, assured that “it is unacceptable that, a week after the blockade (began), the Costa Rican industry still cannot export its products to Panama.
“This affects multiple subsectors and hundreds of companies that have their merchandise detained at the border, because of a group of protesters who hold the cargo illegally, damaging the country’s production and competitiveness,” he emphasized.
For his part, Maurizio Musmanni, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of the Food Industry (Cacia), pointed out that “we already have an important group of exporting companies that report potential losses, jams of products that require cold logistics, increased costs due to the transfer of merchandise, as well as a state of total insecurity regarding the immediate future of product shipments to Panama”.
In addition, Cacia made an energetic claim to Casa Presidencial: “For food businessmen, the government of the Republic cannot allow groups of transporters to use intimidation and coercion, as destabilizing instruments that damage the national and international regulations that protect the free transit of merchandise, and the freedom of contracting the means of transport”.
It is estimated that to date there are about 200 trucks stuck waiting to cross the southern border.
Those in charge of leading the negotiations with the carriers are the Deputy Minister of Finance, Elizabeth Guerrero; the Vice Minister of Economy and Trade, Leonardo Chacón; the Director of Foreign Trade Facilitation, Marcela Chavarría, and the Vice Minister Otárola himself.