Singapore and Costa Rica have agreed to eliminate tariffs to access each other´s markets during the first round of free-trade negotiations this week between the two nations.
“Singapore is a great exporter,” said Costa Rican chief negotiator Fernando Ocampo Wednesday. “In 2008, Singapore exported about $7 billion (in goods).”
This first round of talks ended Wednesday after three days of exchanges between the countries on topics such as customs procedures, which focused on trade methods, and technical barriers to trade.
“The Singaporean consumer is willing to pay high prices for products of high quality,” Ocampo told reporters via a video conference at the Foreign Trade Ministry.
The small Asian nation´s economy is one of the strongest in the world and depends heavily on exports, for the most part from the industrial and electronic sectors.
According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2008, published by the International Institute for Management Development, Singapore ranks as the second most competitive economy in the world.
Negotiators from both sides hope to conclude the talks in just four rounds. The next is slated to kick off at the end of June in Costa Rica, while the third will start in early September and the fourth in early November.