New Post India | Thursday 10th of January 2008
Costa Rica, China Begin Talks On Free Trade
A Chinese business delegation is in Costa Rica to explore the possibilities of a bilateral free trade, EFE news agency reported Thursday.
The two sides held their first meeting Wednesday.
The foreign trade ministry in a statement Wednesday said the Chinese delegates would hold a series of meeting with their counterparts till Friday.
The feasibility study for a bilateral free trade agreement would take at least six months, it said.
The technical group will exchange preliminary information and determine the possible contents of the study. A work plan will be prepared.
The meeting comes after the Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz invited China for talks during their trip to that country last October.
Ruiz said the meeting would give an opportunity to explore the benefits of a bilateral free trade agreement.
China is Costa Rica’s second largest trade partner after US.
Costa Rica has exported $1.3 billion worth of goods, mainly microprocessors, to China between January and November 2007.
Officials said a major challenge now is to diversify Costa Rica’s exports to China.
Earlier in October, Arias said his government’s decision to sever ties with Taiwan was based on a realistic appraisal of Costa Rica’s economic interests with Beijing.
’China has trade agreements with the north and south of the American continent. A very stable Costa Rica that now has a free trade pact with the US can establish private, mixed or state-owned companies and gain tariff-free access to the US market.
’The China should consider investing in Costa Rica as a stepping stone to the US market, since we can offer security and stability. I hope the bilateral trade increases,’ Arias said during his visit to China.