Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís is in China this week, to meet with investors and Chinese authorities, however, today is the most important day of his tour, when he meets with President Xi Jinping, at the Great Hall of the people in Beijing.
The future of two huge investments, such as the expansion and improvement of the Ruta 32 (San José – Limón) and the construction of a new refinery in the province of Limón, could be known following today’s meeting.
The two leaders could endorse or reject the agreements negotiated by subordinates some months ago.
If the deals come to fruition, the Chinese are expected to invest about US$2 billion dollars in the country, of which US$1.5 billion alone is destined to build the refinery on the Caribbean coast. The balance would be to improve the road from San José to Carribean coast.
“The main objectives are political relations at the highest level between the two countries and a strategy for attracting investment to generate more jobs, focusing on infrastructure and production platforms using clean energy that will generate quality jobs and welfare. It is an agenda, both political and economic, that will define the relationships for the next ten years,” said Solis before Costa Rica last week.
The President, on January 1, headed for Brazil to participate in the inauguration of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. From there he headed for China.
Although the two projects that could become a reality today were conceived during the second government of Oscar Arias (2006-2010), which so far it has failed to achieve greater progess, the projects questioned politicially and environmentally.
However, the Solís governmnet, aware of the importance, set out to revive them and sought to renegotiate some points. In that sense, Costa Rica demanded from China a redesign of the refinery, for example.
As to the Ruta 32, the objective is to first provide a blueprint for the project, to establish costs, that includes expropriation of lands, before the country can accept the loan from China.
Other objectives of the Solís team in China is to promote the revival of the regional economy in the provinces of Cartago, Puntareas and Guanacaste, with investments that lead to jobs.
Solís will be in China until Friday, following the close of the China-CELAC forum in Beijing that will be held on January 8 and 9.