Caribbean Trade Pact Sent to Assembly

July 2, 2004

THE Free-Trade Agreement betweenCosta Rica and the 14-memberCaribbean Community (CARICOM) hasbeen sent to the Legislative Assemblyfor approval, the Ministry of thePresidency announced last week.The agreement will allow Costa Ricato export services and agricultural andindustrial products to a practically virginmarket, Presidency Minister RicardoToledo said in a statement.CARICOM represents a market of 15million people, in which the agro-industrialsector of Costa Rica will have a largecompetitive advantage, added the Ministerof Foreign Commerce, Alberto Trejos.Eight years ago Costa Rica exported$14 million in products to the Caribbean.In 2003, that figure was $70 million.Costa Rica products that will benefitfrom the agreement include ornamentalplants, boneless chicken meat, cheese, plastics,textiles, animal feed and electronics.The Caribbean will provide a sourceof minerals not produced in Costa Rica.The negotiations for the agreementbegan in 2002, and were finalized inMarch 2004, when the treaty was signedby President Abel Pacheco and JamaicanPrime Minister Percival Patterson, representingCARICOM (TT, March 12).

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