San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica, Colombia wrap up free trade deal

Costa Rica and Colombia on Wednesday concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement that in its first stage will include up to 70 percent of the negotiated product list.

That amount includes immediate openings for the marketing of products such as cookies, medicines, tires and some plants, among others.

Another four percent of the products was excluded from the agreement, including oil, beer, certain types of meat and paper. The remaining 26 percent will have tariff reduction periods ranging from three to 15 years.

The agreement was reached after four rounds of negotiations culminated Wednesday afternoon in San José.  The agreement was reached by the ministers of foreign trade of Colombia, Sergio Díaz, and Costa Rica, Anabel González.

The official document will be signed by the presidents of both countries on May 23.

“Colombia has been looking for this [agreement] for nearly 20 years. It responds to the efforts that our country makes to diversify our export destinations. These negotiations are highly relevant for Colombia because of the economic importance and proximity of Costa Rica,” Díaz said.

For Costa Rica, the agreement also creates the possibility of becoming a full member of the Pacific Alliance, an organization that groups Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru, which represents nearly 36 percent of Latin America’s gross domestic product.

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