SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 27th, 2012 – The second round of negotiations for the free trade agreement with Colombia were held on Monday, in which proposals by both parties were revised.
Ricardo Zuniga, general director of Costa Rican Foreign Trade, explained that on Monday, they began to go review the texts of the treaty, raise questions and bring additional proposals.
“This is mostly a process to understand which are the different positions,” he said.
Zuniga also said that no particular subject has so far become a standout issue, and the negotiation process is moving along as planned. Costa Rica had offered Colombia the possibility to engage in trade with 87% of the industrial sectors, while Colombians are requesting 100%. The Colombians are also more reserved in regards to the agri-business sector.
Javier Humberto Gamboa, head negotiator for Colombia, said they would take into account each business sectors’ concerns.
According to the Minister of Foreign Trade, the main objective of this round of negotiations were to discuss norms regarding access to goods, cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters, sanitary measures, institutional matters, temporary entrance of business people, and telecommunications and electronic trade.
Authorities see the agreement with Colombia as important, as during the last 10 years, Costa Rican exports to Colombia have increased 7%.
Also, in 2011, Colombia occupied the 2nd place as a destination for Costa Rican products exported to South America, with over 120 companies in Costa Rica selling their products in that country.
Despite this, national industry leaders have publicly opposed the free trade agreement.