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    Canada, Costa Rica To Expand FTA

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    Canada and Costa Rica have concluded a third round of talks on the expansion and modernization of their existing free trade agreement (FTA).

    The latest negotiations were held in Ottawa, with a fourth round scheduled for June. The original FTA entered into force in 2002 but did not include provisions in areas such as cross-border trade in services, financial services, investment and government procurement.

    According to Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, expanding the agreement to include such sectors would bring the deal into line with the model the government nowadays aspires to in its trade negotiations. It is also hoped that an amended FTA will create new opportunities for Canadian businesses in sectors like construction, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications.

    Commenting on the negotiations, Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade said: “Our government’s negotiations to modernize the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement are part of our pro-trade plan for jobs and growth, the most ambitious plan of its kind in Canadian history. Expanding the Free Trade Agreement with Costa Rica would mean more jobs and opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses, and increased prosperity for hard-working Canadians and their families.”

    Over the past six years, Canada has concluded trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and Honduras. During the same period, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Central America rose by 16.7%, while Costa Rica has been Canada’s third-largest trading partner in Central America since 2009. It accounted for 11.8% of such trade with the region in 2011.

    “Growing and broadening our trade and investment ties in the Americas is a priority for Canada. I recently returned from visits to Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Chile, where I saw first-hand the prosperity-generating benefits of deeper trade for hard-working people both in Canada and in our growing number of trading partners in the Americas. Our government looks forward to continuing to build on our success to date in this fast-growing part of the hemisphere,” Fast concluded.

    by Mike Godfrey, Tax-news.com, Washington

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