San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica concludes negotiations with European Free Trade Association

Costa Rica wrapped up trade negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the early hours last Saturday in Guatemala City.

The agreement would improve conditions for entry of Costa Rican products in EFTA countries (Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), “providing opportunities to increase and diversify our exports and to encourage foreign direct investment,”Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González said.

“We’re establishing opportunities for Costa Rica to set a framework of clear rules for a market with a high net-average GDP [$40,000 average per capita] and willing to pay for the quality that distinguishes our products,” the minister added.

Negotiations include benefits for Costa Rican agricultural products such as bananas and other tropical fruit, coffee, sugar and flowers. Costa Rica gave EFTA the same tariff treatment as that accorded the European Union.

The parties expect to comply with the legal review process as soon as possible, “with the aim of signing the agreement by June 2013,”Trade Vice Minister Fernando Ocampo said.

Panama, Guatemala and Honduras also are expected to continue discussions with EFTA in coming weeks.

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