Agence France Presse | Feb 9, 2010
Costa Rica-China trade deal
SAN JOSE — COSTA Rica said on Monday it was on the verge of reaching a free trade deal with China as the Central American nation and the fast-growing Asian economy held talks.
’There’s a great possibility of finishing the negotiations this week, although as with all negotiations, one must wait for the corresponding technical work,’ Minister of Foreign Trade Marco Vinicio Ruiz said.
’Our priority is to reach a comprehensive agreement that is in line with World Trade Organisation rules and considers our nation’ sensitivities as producers and consumers,’ he said as he opened the talks which run through Wednesday.
Costa Rica’s lead negotiator, Fernando Ocampo, said that much of the text was practically complete thanks to progress achieved during the last talks held in November in China.
Mr Ocampo hoped that the current round could bridge the gap on remaining issues concerning market access for each country and rules on products’ origin. Costa Rica is seeking removal of all Chinese tariffs on agricultural products such as pork, beef, chicken, banana puree and pineapple and orange juice.
China launched free-trade talks with Costa Rica in earnest after it became the first Central American nation to break off relations with Taiwan and recognize Beijing in 2007. China has steadily been coaxing nations to end recognition of Taiwan, where defeated nationalists fled in 1949 after losing the mainland’s civil war.