Trade Agreements, Challenges and Opportunities

The time and cost of maritime routes between Costa Rica and China, and the capacity that the food industry develops to take advantage of existing opportunities, are factors that in the coming years will influence the evolution of the FTA signed between the two countries.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ten years after the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Costa Rica, Costa Rican authorities assure that they are in a continuous negotiation process involving the National Animal Health Service (Senasa) and the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE).

See "Costa Rica - China FTA in Force in August"

The agricultural and industrial sectors are the biggest winners in the last decade. According to Andres Valenciano, Minister of Foreign Trade, "... 'the agricultural sector increased its exports to China 8 times since 2010 and industrial exports tripled in that same period. Bilateral trade exceeds $2.2 billion in 10 years and is growing year by year. The FTA is a living tool that evolves according to the commercial conditions of both countries."

Although the numbers are good, the Costa Rican business sector believes that the figures could be more favorable if the logistics issue is improved, since the current situation of the commercial maritime routes has made exports to the Chinese market more expensive.

For the Chamber of Exporters (Cadexco), sales of agricultural products to China do not reach their potential, due to the complex and time-consuming transit of goods from Costa Rica to Asia.

Laura Bonilla, the president of Cadexco, explained to that "... there are multiple barriers that exporters must overcome, among them the high transit times of goods, high export costs, among others. For example, the lack of routes has affected the fact that Panama has to be used as port of origin to export to the Asian country, there are more barriers that exporters have had to overcome, such as phytosanitary certifications and risk analysis, issues that must be reviewed by the corresponding authorities'."

The commercialization of shrimp, milk products, shrimp, blueberries, meat, beer, water, coffee, baby food and sauces are some of the market opportunities that the Foreign Trade Promoter has identified in the commercial relationship between the Asian giant and Costa Rica.

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