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China, Costa Rica make progress in free trade talks


China, Costa Rica make progress in free trade talks

11 September 2009

SAN JOSE — China and Costa Rica concluded the fourth round of negotiations in Beijing aimed at reaching a free trade agreement, according to the foreign trade ministry.

Costa Rica — which gave up six decades of ties with Taiwan in favor of China two years ago — is the third Latin American country to negotiate a free trade deal with China, after Chile and Peru.

In the round of talks that ended Thursday agreements were reached for more than 90 percent of each country’s exports, the trade ministry said.

Costa Rican exports include coffee, bananas, fruit juices, cigars, pork, beef and chicken, said Costa Rican chief negotiator Fernando Ocampo.

Costa Rican negotiators face intense pressure from the local business community, which is calling for a long list of potential Chinese exports to be banned, fearing they will be overwhelmed by cheap imports.

Advances in trade talks were also made in other areas such as labor, investment, environment, and immigration.

Ocampo said he was very satisfied with the advances, but said that important issues were still pending.