Saturday 25 March 2023

Pacific Alliance would open Costa Rica to a market of 230 million people

Greater investment, employment and cheaper products would be the benefits; 13 business chambers ask President Rodrigo Chaves to move forward with the process

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QCOSTARICA – Opening the doors to a market of 230 million people is what would await Costa Rica with the incorporation to the Pacific Alliance (Spanish: Alianza del Pacífico).

.That is why 13 business chambers on Monday asked President Rodrigo Chaves to move forward with the process, which was stalled for eight years due to the ideological opinions of the two consecutive PAC governments.

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Read more: Fierce Opposition to the Pacific Alliance Continues

Greater investment, more employment and cheaper products for all would benefit from accessing this common trade market made up of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

“Costa Rica’s incorporation into the Pacific Alliance is the logical and natural step in our country’s trade policy (…) Especially, in the context of the international logistics crisis. This economic bloc presents cooperation and economic integration schemes that would be very beneficial for the country,” said Carlos Montenegro, executive director of the Cámara de Industrias (Chamber of Industries).

The request made to the president also included the Cámara de Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica (CRECEX) -Costa Rican Chamber of Foreign Trade, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo (CANATUR) – National Chamber of Tourism , the Cámara Costarricense – Norteamericana de Comercio (AMCHAM) – Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, the Asociación de Empresas de Zonas Francas de Costa Rica (AZOFRAS)  – Association of Free Zone Companies of Costa Ric, and the Cámara de Exportadores de Costa Rica (CADEXCO) – Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica.

Read more: Costa Rica won’t be joining the Pacific Alliance

“We are calling on President Rodrigo Chaves to restart the process of accession to the Pacific Alliance, after such a tough pandemic process and a still complicated level of unemployment (…) These types of initiatives are exactly what the Costa Rican economy needs, so that there are more and better jobs. The Pacific Alliance is a market that represents more than 230 million people and that would have access to thousands of Costa Rican products,” said Arturo Rosabal, vice president of the Cámara de Comercio (Chamber of Commerce).

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The Pacific Alliance is a deep integration block made up of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru that seeks to generate growth, development and competitiveness of the economies and become a platform for political articulation, economic and commercial integration, with special emphasis on Pacific Asia.

Likewise, it constitutes the eighth economic power and the eighth export power worldwide, representing 41% of the GDP of Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to attracting 38% of direct foreign investment in the region.

“The Pacific Alliance goes beyond trade liberalization and contemplates additional protocols covering work areas related to tourism, education, financial services, SMEs, among others, from which Costa Rica could obtain benefits and face the challenges that the economic environment contemplates,” indicates the letter sent to President Chaves.

Previously, President Chaves referred positively to Costa Rica’s entry into the Pacific Alliance.

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However, it remains to be seen what the president will do when considering the opposition of the agricultural sector.

On the other hand, the eventual participation of Costa Rica in that goods market would also imply the endorsement of the Legislative Assembly.

The Pacific Alliance in brief

Costa Rica’s entry into the Pacific Alliance has been kept in the freezer by the last two consecutive governments.

  • What would be the benefits? An increase in exports, employment, competition and foreign direct investment would be some of the benefits for Costa Rica being part of the Pacific Alliance
  • What are some of the Costa Rican products that would find new markets? Dairy, food industry, pork, poultry, fats and sausages are several of the products that would benefit from the increase in exports
  • Who are the member countries of the Alliance? The Pacific Alliance is a Latin American trade bloc that all border the Pacific Ocean. Together, the four member states of the Pacific Alliance represent nearly 35 percent of Latin American GDP.
  • Why do we need the Pacific Alliance, since we already have free trade agreements with the same countries? Several products still face tariffs due to the limitations of these agreements. The Pacific Alliance is also a mechanism for integration and competitiveness where environmental, cultural and SME issues are discussed.
  • What are the challenges of being part of the Pacific Alliance? Several national sectors could be affected, facing competition from imported products, mainly agriculture.

Costa Rica began the process of joining on February 10, 2014, at the eighth summit of the Alliance in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, when President Laura Chinchilla signed a protocol at a plenary session finalizing the decision to join the alliance.

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