San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Spain Joins Central American Economic Integration Bank

THE presidents of Central America and top Spanish officials will sign an agreement today to include Spain as part of Central American Economic Integration Bank (BCIE).

Spain is expected to contribute $200 million in additional funds to BCIE by serving as an extra-regional partner, similar to Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan.

During their visit, the Central American leaders will attempt to convince Spanish leaders to propose that the European Union begin free-trade negotiations with Central America no later than January 2005.

Most of the presidents – Oscar Berger of Guatemala; Mireya Moscoso of Panama; Abel Pacheco of Costa Rica; Ricardo Maduro of Honduras and Francisco Flores of El Salvador – arrived in Spain Wednesday. Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolaños arrived Thursday.

In addition to signing the BCIE agreement, the presidents will discuss other cooperation issues during their meeting.


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