Costa Rica approves free trade with China

May 31, 2011

The Legislative Assembly approved a free trade deal with China by a margin of 32 to 13 on Tuesday.

Costa Rica’s Free Trade Agreement with China (CFTA) will become law once signed by President Laura Chinchilla – possibly as early as next week – and published by the government’s official La Gaceta newspaper.The treaty will go into effect on July 1.

“This vote shows the importance that as a country we attach to the improving lives of Costa Ricans, generating more jobs and the consolidation of the access for products exported to China and expanding options for consumers,” Trade Foreign Minister Anabel González said in a press release.

This week’s passage of the trade deal was timely, as China only reviews new trade agreements twice a year. If lawmakers had failed to pass it this week, Chinese officials would have waited at least six months to discuss it again since the Asian power only reviews new trade agreements twice a year. President Laura Chinchilla last week urged lawmakers to pass the CFTA soon

Between 2000-2010, Costa Rican exports to the Chinese market grew by an annual average of 37 percent and imports from that country increased by 29 percent.

Costa Rica exports to China include tilapia, shrimp, flowers, chocolates, and leather. Some of the imports from China are raw textile materials and musical instruments.

For more on this story, see the June 3 print edition of The Tico Times

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