Straits Times, Singapore
Costa Rica-S’pore FTA talks
2 December 2008
Costa Rica and Singapore on Tuesday announced their intent to start talks on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The announcement came on the sidelines of the official visit of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez to Singapore from Monday to Thursday, said a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Tuesday.
Singapore and Costa Rica share a growing bilateral economic relationship.
In 2007, Costa Rica was Singapore’s seventh largest Latin American trading partner, and the total trade volume between the two countries stood at $372.9 million. From January to October 2008, total bilateral trade amounted to S$348.2 million, a 14.4 per cent increase from a year ago.
’The launch of an FTA is testament to the growing economic relations between the two countries. The FTA will increase bilateral trade and investment, and provide greater confidence for investors and businesses in both countries,’ said MTI.
’Key elements of the FTA will include measures to liberalise trade in goods and services and the investment regime, simplify customs procedures, open up government procurement, and other general provisions. The FTA will also lay a strong foundation for cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.’
’To ensure a smooth and expeditious conclusion of the FTA, the two countries will adopt a pragmatic approach. In this regard, we have agreed to use an FTA that Singapore has with other Latin American countries as a basis for negotiations. Where appropriate, we will also harness the use of technology as a means to advance in the negotiations.’
MTI said both countries will also continue to work together in support of a prompt conclusion of the Doha Round, and achieve comprehensive and ambitious results that truly contribute to greater liberalisation of world trade.