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Nicaragua joins Chile-Central America FTA | Wednesday 23 February 2011

Nicaragua joins Chile-Central America FTA

Managua — Nicaragua joined on Tuesday the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and Central America, seeking to promote exports bound for the South American country.

In a ceremony at the headquarters of the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos and Chilean Ambassador to Managua Hernan Mena Taboada signed the Bilateral Protocol, including specific terms for Nicaragua’s joining the pact.

The FTA was signed on October 1999 between Chile and Central America, and though it is defined as a multilateral agreement, it is in fact a set of separate pacts with each country.

After its signing, Chile started negotiations of bilateral protocols with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to define the specific characteristics of trade opening with each of them.

Nicaragua was so far the only country pending signing the protocol for fully joining the FTA with Chile.

Now 96 Nicaraguan export items will be able to enter into the Chilean market duty free while 67 percent of Chilean export goods will enter Nicaragua under similar conditions.

According to Jose Adan Aguerri, president of the Private Business Higher Council, the pact not only seeks to increase rum sales, but also to exploit the demand for meat, tropical fruits, shrimps, cocoa, coffee and banana.

There is a large market for Nicaraguan products in Chile, he said.