China signs trade treaty with Costa Rica


Beijing : China and Costa Rica have signed a free trade treaty that will give the two countries greater access in each other’s markets and bring the Asian giant economically closer to Central America.

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The accord was signed here Thursday by the commerce ministers of both nations, Marco Vinicio Ruiz and Chen Deming. It is the third such agreement that China has inked with Latin America, after those signed with Chile in 2006 and Peru earlier this year.

“It’s important because it consolidates a commercial relationship in which China is already Costa Rica’s second-largest trading partner,” Ruiz said.

The treaty was signed less than three years after the two countries established diplomatic relations.

“Costa Rica took a step forward in seeking a relationship with the most emerging and dynamic economy in Asia,” Ruiz said and added that the current good relations between China and Taiwan, characterised by a “slow and constant” rapprochement, will ensure that the decades-long diplomatic conflict between the two nations “should not be a problem in the future”.

Of the 23 countries in the world that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, 12 are located in Central America and the Caribbean.

China’s deputy trade minister, Yi Xiaozhun, said the trade pact is “a new milestone in bilateral relations, which will propel the relations not just in the areas of trade and investment”.

China has accorded great importance to Costa Rica “as the first country in Central America to establish relations with China”, he said.

Costa Rica, which had to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan to establish links with Beijing, is one of the few countries that has a favourable trade balance with China.

Trade between the two countries totalled $3.18 billion last year, according to Chinese government figures.