Posted by: Idioma Extra | July 2, 2013

Topical Tuesdays

Costa Rica ratifies Association Agreement with European Union

Ultimate-Costa-bananaTopical Tuesdays

With 43 votes in favor and five against, lawmakers ratified on second reading the Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union (E.U.) last night.

Minister of Foreign Trade, Anabel González, said via a press release that the agreement would enter into force on August 1st.

“This is an important step for Costa Rica because it manages to consolidate and improve the conditions of the Generalized System of Preferences which has allowed the entry of many Central American products to the Eurozone without tariffs,” González said.

European lawmakers approved the agreement in December.  In Central America, lawmakers in Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Guatemala have all ratified the agreement, leaving only El Salvador, where the agreement is still passing through legislative procedures.

The European Union is Costa Rica’s second-largest trading partner.  Exports to the E.U. reached more than $2 billion last year, consisting in large part of pineapple, coffee, bananas, melons, and medical devices.

President of the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica, Monica Segnini, expressed her satisfaction at the adoption of the international treaty, but said work still remains, including customs integration and defining quotas on sugar, rice, and meat.

Alonso Elizondo, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica, said the agreement opens the doors to a huge market, but work remains to integrate the Central American countries.

“Without a doubt, ratifying an international treaty of this type involves agreeing on a lot of commitments and we have to make up for lost time,” Elizondo said.

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