San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

First Chinese Trade Expo Opens Next Week

Just a few months after forming diplomatic relations with China, Costa Rica will be hosting its first trade fair featuring Chinese companies looking to sell their products here.

Organizers say next week’s event has been in the works since before Costa Rica changed diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China in June, but they also declared that it is one more step in the warming commercial relationship between the two countries.

Indeed, the first Chinese diplomatic delegation to Costa Rica will be attending the opening night of the trade fair, and this week, Costa Rican officials announced that the Chinese would be providing $50 million to the country’s municipalities (see separate story).

The trade fair, known as the China Trade Expo, will take place from Aug. 22-25 in the InternationalConferenceCenter in the Hotel Herradura, northwest of San José.

Thirty Chinese companies will have booths in the 2,400-square-meter space, representing industries as diverse as garment manufacturers, automobile companies and makers of artificial Christmas trees.

The event will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. the first three days, and it will close on 6 p.m. the last day. The event is sponsored by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), a public-private Chinese trade organization that was founded in 1952.

CCPIT representative An Dali said the trade exposition would “strengthen our relationship by promoting trade.” Likewise, Mao Furong, the Chinese Embassy’s business advisor, said, “I am convinced that with this, trade between our countries will increase as will the cultural understanding between providers in (both) our countries.”

Both men noted that while the trade exposition had been planned before the two countries formed diplomatic relations earlier this year (TT, June 8), the exposition should also be seen as part of a strengthening of that relationship.

Costa Rican business representatives agreed.

“It’s just the first step in the strengthening of trade relations,” said Luis Monge, the executive director of the Chamber of Foreign Commerce and Representatives of Foreign Companies (CRECEX).

At the event, CRECEX plans to sign an agreement with the CCPIT to draw the two trade organizations closer together, Monge said.

“It’s going to benefit us in the sense that we can establish contacts with Chinese companies more easily” by making information and contact data more accessible, he explained.“Many times, it’s not so easy.”

Asked what language people would be speaking at the exposition,Monge laughed: “I have no idea. I imagine it will be a combination of English and Spanish.”

China was Costa Rica’s second largest export market last year, with $1.06 billion worth of Tico products ending up there.

Preliminary export numbers this year indicate that this year will be even bigger.

During the first half of this year, Costa Rica shipped $628.3 million worth of goods to China, representing an increase of $200 million over the same period last year.

In related news, Costa Rica will be opening up a foreign trade office in China, according to wire service ACAN-EFE. The office will be focusing its efforts on Pekin, Shanghai and Wan Zhong.

“In these cities, which have 300 million people, lies the population with the highest income and also the most important business ties, especially with food products,” the main goods Costa Rica would like to export to China, said Martín Zúñiga, director of Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER).


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