Trade Minister Announces Negotiators for E.U. Pact

February 9, 2007

Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz announced Wednesday that a team of three Costa Ricans, two of whom helped negotiate a controversial trade pact with the United States in 2003, has been chosen to represent the country in negotiations for a Central American-European Union Association Agreement.

Chief negotiator Roberto Echandi – who is also Costa Rica’s ambassador to the European Union – as well as adjunct negotiators Cristian Guillermet, representing the Foreign Relations Ministry, and Fernando Ocampo, representing the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX), will work with representatives of other Central American countries in the coming months to prepare for the first E.U. meetings, expected to begin mid-year, Ruiz told reporters following President Oscar Arias’ weekly Cabinet meeting.

Asked why he chose Echandi and Ocampo, who served on the often-criticized negotiating team of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA) – activists at anti-CAFTA marches often claim the pact was negotiated “behind the backs of Costa Ricans” and that negotiators ceded too much ground – Ruiz said they’re simply the most qualified people for the job.

“It’s not a political team. It’s a technical team,” he said, adding later that, “we need the best people there, and these are the best people.”

However, the government plans to “learn from the experiences we had (with CAFTA) and involve the ministries a great deal” in the negotiation process, as well as social groups, Ruiz said. The Foreign Ministry and COMEX will work with ministers to ensure the sectors under their leadership are represented, and will coordinate with the Planning Ministry to ensure that aid or cooperation the European Union offers during negotiations meets Costa Rica’s needs.

 

You may be interested

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it
The Tico Times
101 views
The Tico Times
101 views

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it

Katherine Stanley - December 11, 2017

In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
244 views
Events
244 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador
Weather
2621 views
Weather
2621 views

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador

AFP - December 10, 2017

Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…