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FTA between China, Costa Rica to enter into force on Aug. 1

Xinhua, China

FTA between China, Costa Rica to enter into force on Aug. 1

30 July 2011

SAN JOSE, July 29 (Xinhua) — The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Costa Rica and China, the first such pact inked between China and a Central American country, will enter into force on Aug. 1, Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez said Friday.

Both sides have completed the necessary procedures exchanged all the diplomatic notes, the Foreign Trade Ministry said in a statement.

After it takes effect, the FTA will enable 99.6 percent of the Costa Rican exports to China to enter the market duty-free. These include products such as tilapia fish, shrimp, flowers, ornamental plants, cocoa, yucca, chocolates and palm heart, the statement said.

The FTA was approved by the Costa Rican parliament on May 31 and signed by President Laura Chinchilla on June 13.

Gonzalez said China would bring many opportunities to Costa Rica and the country should seek benefits and make efforts to promote its exports to China.

"China is Costa Rica’s second largest export market in the world after the United States, with economic growth higher than 9 percent and an increasing consumption capacity and diversified tastes and preferences. It will mean great opportunities for our country," Gonzalez said in the statement.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office is running a program to provide Costa Rican entrepreneurs with necessary tools, knowledge and contacts to help them do business efficiently in China, Gonzalez said.

Costa Rica is China’s largest trading partner in Central America. According to official figures from China, bilateral trade between Costa Rica and China reached 3.79 billion U.S. dollars last year.