Costa Rica advances in free trade talks with China, Singapore

September 4, 2009

Free-trade agreements with China and Singapore appear to be well on their way.

On Monday, Costa Rica started the fourth round of negotiations with China on the specifics of a free-trade pact. The talks, which will last through the week, aim to further clarify what products China hopes to export to Costa Rica and which Chinese products are of greatest importance to Costa Rica. Representatives from the two countries will also discuss how the products will be transported and the monitoring of safety and health standards for goods traded, according to a statement by the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX).

Costa Rica also discussed a free-trade agreement with Singapore last Thursday at the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER), finishing a third round of negotiations.

The two nations discussed the trade of construction materials, infrastructure, the food industry, agriculture, and ornamental plants and flowers. The primary themes of this round of the talks included the importance of maintenance of the products to ensure that, when traded, they arrive in good condition.

In this vein, Singapore proposed the use of a product known as Purfresh, used to slow the maturation of a product and maintain its freshness. Purfresh is a packing product that contains nitrogen, which reduces the amount of existing oxygen, thereby limiting the development of harmful microorganisms during the shipping process. Though the use of this element will result in a small increase in the cost of transport, Emmanuel Hess, general director of PROCOMER, thinks it is a worthy investment.

“The fundamental idea behind these actions is for Costa Rican businesses from diverse sectors to be better informed about the innovative logistical models used for exports,” Hess said. “Businesses will be able to enjoy the best form of potential business and utilize an improved method of trade due to the free-trade agreements with China and Singapore.”

Both accords are expected to be finalized within the first half of 2010.

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