QCOSTARICA – After almost a decade of debate, Costa Rica’s Legislature announced on Tuesday the approval of an investment promotion and protection agreement with China, a great step forward since relative discussion started in 2007.

The approval was by 35 votes in favour and 9 against, with 44 of the 57  legislators present for the vote.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement in a press release after a vote late on Monday. The agreement still requires the signature of Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis before entering into force.

The Ministro de Comercio Exterior (Comex) – Foreign Trade Minister –  Alexander Mora said that the approval is a great step forward since the start of discussion in 2007, even before the free trade agreement signed between China and the country, which took effect in 2011.

“Having an agreement to protect investments with a country of the size of China is of great importance to us. China is one of the strongest and the most strategic markets in the world. It offers numerous business opportunities for us,” said Mora.

Chinatown Costa Rica

Besides the trade agreement, both countries have signed several cooperation projects such as the construction of the National Stadium in San Jose, valued at US$85 million dollars donated by China and was inaugurated in 2011. In 2012, the Chinese government gave Costa Rica over US$1 million dollars for the development of a Chinatown, complete with pedestrian street lined with a Tang Dynasty-style archway.

See also Since The Opening of Chinatown Two Years Ago, 25 Business Have Closed.

The latest official data shows that in 2014 Costa Rica exports to China totalled US$338 million dollars, while imports from China totalled US$1.715 billion.

Chinese investment in Costa Rica during 2014 was US$ 9.8 million, according to figures from Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Trade.

From a statement issued by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica:

With the support of 35 of the 44 legislators in the Legislative Assembly approval has been given to the definitive step in the agreement between Costa Rica and the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

The Treaty seeks to recognize the encouragement, promotion and reciprocal protection of investments, in order to stimulate business initiatives and intensify cooperation between the two countries on a basis of equality and mutual benefits.

This new instrument provides the legal framework applicable to investment between the two countries, which incorporates provisions such as promotion, protection and handling of investment; expropriation; compensation for damages and losses; transfers; subrogation; resolving differences between the parties; resolution of disputes between investors and one of the parties; obligations; application; consultations and entry into force, duration and termination.