San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arias, Borrell Promise More Than a Trade Pact

Josep Borrell, president of the European Union Parliament, and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias each had the same thing to say yesterday: an association agreement between Central America and the European Union will be “not just a freetrade agreement.”

Borrell appeared at Casa Presidencial yesterday along with Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno as part of the European politician’s tour of Central America that stopped in Costa Rica this week.

Europe and Central America will begin negotiations next year to reach an association agreement to establish trade benefits and political cooperation between the two regions.

“We share the same objective … of the defense of peace,” Borrell said. Borrell said he hopes the regions can integrate their Customs systems and promised that negotiations between the two regions would bring forth a solution to the banana tariff problem that has chafed relations between Latin America and the European Union.

Costa Rica and other Latin American countries have fought to keep the European Union from imposing higher tariffs on bananas imported from Latin America. The European Union imposed the tariffs this year.


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