Costa Rican officials believe that Singapore will be a valuable strategic partner, as the city-state has one of the highest GDP’s per capita in the world – $51,000 per year – despite its small size and population.
“The levels of competitiveness and development of Singapore are admirable, it is a model country from which we can learn,” Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister, Anabel González, said in a statement.
“This agreement will allow us to achieve benefits that go beyond trade, and recognizes the importance of promoting and facilitating cooperative activities, in order to develop technological projects, research and exchange of information,” González said.
As Singapore has a service-based economy, Costa Rica sees significant export opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness.
Between 2002 and 2012, Costa Rican exports to Singapore increased an average of 45.7% per year, reaching $746 million in 2012, according to official figures.
Imports from Singapore totaled $33 million in 2012, a 34.2% increase from the previous year.
Costa Rica has been broadening its relationship with Asia. Besides Singapore, Costa Rica has an FTA in place with China, and has expressed interest in developing free trade with Japan and South Korea.