Plan to Incorporate Costa Rica Into the North American FTA Generates Expectations Among Productive Sectors

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    Although it is hardly an option, Costa Rica’s incorporation into the North American Free Trade Agreement (T-MEC) is viewed favorably among the country’s productive sectors.This is the agreement of both the Chamber of Industries (CICR) and the Chamber of Exporters (Cadexco).

    “The Chamber sees as favorable the Executive’s intention to incorporate the country into the treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada; whose members are major trade allies of the country and are all part of the OECD,” said Carlos Montenegro, executive director of the ICRC.

    Waiting for more details

    For their part, among the exporting union they emphasize that they are also waiting for more details, but that the model that has been developed needs those treaties.”From the export sector, we see everything that is open as positive,” said President Siany Villalobos. “Opportunities are out there. We are only 5 million inhabitants, so we cannot claim to produce only for the domestic market”, he added.

    For his part, Vice President Víctor Pérez said that they hope to see what the negotiations with 3 countries would be like, but that if they materialize, they would have a broader framework of options.”We could use the treaty that suits us best if we joined this scheme,” he said.

    The message to the US

    Costa Rica took advantage of the visit of the White House Advisor for Latin America, Chris Dodd, this week to send the request to join the T-MEC.President Rodrigo Chaves stressed that after joining the OECD, the country could already negotiate on other terms. In passing, he stressed that differences could already be made regarding CAFTA, which currently regulates free trade between Costa Rica and the United States.

    “That was the message we are sending to the United States. If you want to be, if you want to stay close to the country that shares the values ​​in Latin America with you, we already have to strengthen our relations and improve our business and growth opportunities with the United States”, he said.The Minister of Foreign Trade, Manuel Tovar, explained that they would expect some negotiations in 2023.

    President Chaves received Joe Biden’s envoy for Latin America, Chris Dodd, at the Presidential House. At the meeting, they took the opportunity to request the incorporation of Costa Rica into the USMCA.

    The T-MEC to which Costa Rica would join

    In the 1990s, Canada, the United States, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).The mechanism regulated tariff reduction and was maintained until 2018, when there was a renegotiation.

    As a result of this, a new treaty known as T-MEC was generated and it came into force in 2020.This creates a commercial exchange zone and at the same time introduced new production and investment parameters, to which Costa Rica now wants to join.

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