Shrimp, tuna, canned sardines, fresh flowers, and paper, cardboard, iron, and steel manufactures are some of the products that will receive different treatment than most, in the midst of trade negotiations with Ecuador. On the contrary, more than 90% of the products that are exported from Costa Rica to this country will be free of tariffs. Over the years, this percentage will increase to 98.25%, according to information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex) to El Observador.
When it comes into force (if the deputies approve it), products such as roasted or ground coffee, tires, medicines and vitamin supplements will be free of duty or with some income benefit. Also fruit juices, syrups for soft drink preparations, electric batteries, hair preparations and steel rods, among others. Some of the products included are raw material for the fishing industry, certain pharmaceutical products, iron wires and electrical transformers. These are just some of the results of this negotiation that closed last Monday, December 19th.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade also indicated that just over 60% of what Ecuador exports to Costa Rica will be able to enter duty-free when said agreement enters into force. Years later, 96.5% of Ecuadorian exports will enter Costa Rica with tariff preferences.
Tovar explained to El Observador that the technical teams of each country are in charge of studying what are known as “sensitivities”, that is, tariff actions that could affect producers or commercial sectors, whether they are Costa Rican or Ecuadorian. If so, some measures are taken such as the exclusion, or a gradual reduction of tariffs. “You know that Ecuador is a world power (in tuna and shrimp)”, explained Tovar, about the particularities by which the products could receive different treatment in this trade agreement.
“Negotiation was done in record time”
The Comex chief commented that this agreement between the parties was reached “in record time”. The discussion began the previous August and was divided into 4 stages. Comex described the agreement reached as “substantive in the pending issues through an adequate balance, which reasonably serves the interests of both parties”.
During the following weeks, the agreement will undergo a legal review. Subsequently, it will be sent to the Legislative Assembly, where it would have to be discussed and approved so that, in this way, the aforementioned agreement enters into force. Tovar hopes that this will happen within the next year. The agricultural, dairy, and food industry sectors are opposed to this trade agreement. On the contrary, at least 15 business groups from different fields support it.