The Minister of Foreign Trade is ready to negotiate an FTA with China as of the first quarter of 2009.
The Presidents of both countries will make the decision to negotiate the agreement when they meet next Monday in San Jose.
The Foreign Trade Minister, Marco Vinicio Ruiz, told the press on Monday during a seminar that "the Ministry has sufficient arguments on the need to negotiate an FTA with China and they're all positive"
The Economy Ministry will study the Free Trade Agreement between Costa and Rica and China, by request from the National Export Promotion Council (Conapex).
Conapex requested the ministry to evaluate the possibility of strengthening trade ties with China through the Trade Agreement negotiated between the Asian giant and Costa Rica. These treaty allows other Central American nations to join in, nut negotiating separate terms and conditions.
The capital of Panama will host the XI Trade Expo of the People's Republic of China, from December 4 - 7.
The person in charge of the expo, Liang Haiguang, said that 60 companies from China's autonomous cities and provinces will participate with industrial products, construction tools, home appliances, cars and decorating, besides other type of gadgets.
In this negotiation round, the key topic is market access for products considered "sensitive".
In Beijing, from September 7th to 11th, negotiating teams from both countries will discuss special tariffs for specific products. It has already been agreed that 90% of the products will enter both markets tariff-free.
"Costa Rica has special interest in sugar, meat, coffee, beer, sauces and pasta, among others", reports Nacion.com.
Costa Rica is demanding a mechanism from China that will allow increased tariffs on a product when national activity is threatened.
Fernando Ocampo, chief negotiator for Costa Rica, told nacion.com about the characteristics of the mechanism: "It is a special volume safeguard that can be activated each year when imports from China exceed a certain volume. This would be a safeguard for the most sensitive products and it has the advantage that it would be automatic."
The International Affairs Committee has approved the FTA with China, it is now being sent to the legislative branch.
If approved in Congress it would be the ninth Free Trade Agreement the country has signed.
Current treaties are with the United States, Canada, CARICOM, Chile, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Panama. Under negotiations are AACUE, China, Singapore and Peru. (According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade).
The protocols necessary for exporting Costa Rican products to China could be signed next June.
This was announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica during the recent visit of his Chinese counterpart. It is expected for protocols to be signed during the official visit of Chinese officials next June.
"Costa Rica is also very interested in dealing with China's protocols for poultry and pork." Stated an article in La Nacion, "With regards to the two protocols, Chinese officials asked to approach them one at a time..."
This week the program for informing business owners and other private organizations about the future of the FTA begins as a part of the preliminary stage before starting the negotiations.
According to terra.com "To this end, the technical team will analyze the characteristics of the China - Peru and China - Chile FTAs during a seminar that will be held this Wednesday in San Jose, and which will be attended by business owners and leaders from the private sector, the Nacion daily reported."
The first offer by China for the FTA left 6% of tariff lines undefined, including the most important ones for Costa Rica.
The products of greatest interest for Costa Rica like coffee, beef, pork, chicken and sugar are part of the 6% of tariff lines that were included in a special basket "where [the parties] agreed to place the most sensitive products, excluded products or time periods for special allowances."
The exhibition will be held at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center and 60 companies will participate this coming August 27.
The fair will promote the commercial exchange between both countries, allowing Nicaraguan businesses to offer products of interest to the Chinese market.
Cristhian Marenco wrote in the El Nuevo Diario website: "Similarly, there will be two forums with industry professionals from the commerce sector and Nicaraguan businessmen who are interested in strengthening trade relations with China. In the forums, topics related to the diversity and quality of Chinese products, along with providing interested parties the opportunity to know what the demands of the Asian market are."
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