Contradictions in Costa Rica's Foreign Trade

The private sector is demanding homogeneity in the foreign trade strategy, since the situation today is that there is "one protectionist minister and another who works for free trade."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

In the words of José Manuel Quirce, president of the Chamber of Importers of Costa Rica (Crecex), the Solis administration needs to focus on "... harmonizing approaches in foreign trade" in order to avoid having one agriculture ministry imposing nontariff barriers to protect local production, and at the other extreme another minister of foreign trade promoting free trade.

See: "Agricultural trade: US angry with Costa Rica"

In an article published on "... The President of Crecex Jose Manuel Quirce said that many of the actions taken by the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) represent barriers to trade, which are affecting us and should not be causing problems with important trading partners for Costa Rica such as Mexico and the United States are."We believe that the President of the Republic, Luis Guillermo Solis, must harmonize criteria on foreign trade, because what we are seeing is one protectionist Minister and another working for free trade.'"

In May 2015 importers denounced protectionist measures when the SFE banned the entry of Hass avocados from Mexico , based on the existence of the "sun spot" plague. Also banned were imports of industrial potatoes from the US and Canada.

Asked by "... whether there is a difference in policy being followed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Arauz answered evasively, saying that 'the Comex by its nature seeks to promote trade, but there are steps you have to take with the MAG that somehow restrict trade and then there could be a conflict and it is important that both institutions communicate and discuss these issues'. "

More on this topic

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Following what began as a blockade by Panama on the entry of animal products from Costa Rica, a formal proposal has been made to apply an import tariff to Costa Rican dairy products marketed in the Panamanian market.

In July of this year, Panama informed the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), an agency of the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), of the decision not to extend the export authorization to a list of Costa Rican establishments previously authorized and that have been trading in the Panamanian market for many years.

Extreme Protectionism

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If Costa Rican businessmen still had doubts about the direction to be taken by the new Alvarado administration in agricultural matters, the affirmations made by the newly-appointed minister of Agriculture and Livestock have managed to dissipate them completely.


Lobby for Pacific Alliance Reinforced

July 2016

Discussion forums, advertising and meetings with businesses are part of the efforts that the Business Council of the Pacific Alliance intends to do in Costa Rica.

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Alarm Over Import Restrictions in Costa Rica

May 2015

The protectionist measures being implemented by the Solis administration through non-tariff barriers are causing concern to the union of importers.

The recent ban on imports of avocados from nine markets comes on top of the decision to raise the tariff on rice imports, both market distorting measures intended to protect local production.

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