San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican industrialists oppose free trade agreement with Colombia

Members of Costa Rican Chamber of Industries (CICR) stated that the signing of a free trade agreement with Colombia may cause layoffs and bankruptcies in Costa Rica, especially at small and medium companies.

Industrialists warned in a press conference Tuesday that both countries’ economies “are rivals and not complementary, and such an agreement can damage the chemical, plastics, textile, leather, footwear, electronics, paper and cardboard sectors.”

CICR President Juan Ramón Rivera told reporters to watch closely what is happening with the agreement, which is being discussed in a second round of negotiations this week in San José.

He added that the agreement is seeking the exclusion of a vast majority of local products, as well as textile, food and printing industries, in their entirety. He also stated that Colombia offers benefits to its productive sector such as electricity at a cost that is 31 percent cheaper than that offered by Costa Rica, and that Colombia’s workforce is less expensive.

As part of the negotiation process, from Sept. 6-13, the Foreign Trade Ministry conducted a consultation process on goods and services, through which the various productive sectors had the opportunity to present their positions. A third consultation is scheduled to take place in October.

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