Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates sign a “historic” investment and trade agreement

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates took a step on Wednesday that they described as “historic” in strengthening their bilateral relations with the signing of an agreement that releases 90 percent of trade immediately and that seeks to encourage investments in areas such as infrastructure and energy.

The signing of the agreement was by Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Manuel Tovar, and his Emirati colleague Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, and as honorary witnesses were Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves and the Emirati President, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a virtual way.

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on Trade and Investment, which was closed last January after four rounds of negotiations, immediately releases 90 per cent of the products from tariffs, and that percentage will reach 98 per cent over the next 10 years, Minister Tovar told EFE.

The agreement “has the potential to strengthen and scale our participation in global value chains and become a preferred partner with great opportunities for agricultural and food products for an economy of very high purchasing value,” Tovar said.

The Costa Rican Government considers this to be a step in its objective of achieving greater integration into the Middle East markets and in the diversification of sources of investment, as it provides a framework that provides legal certainty to investors.

Both sides described the trade agreement as “historic” because it is the first that Costa Rica signs with a Middle Eastern country, and the first that the United Arab Emirates subscribes to with a Latin American country.

Our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Costa Rica is intended to usher in a new productive era of economic collaboration among our nations. Costa Rica is one of the most impressive growth stories in the region, with a diversified and service-driven economy and which has gained recognition for its commitment to sustainability and innovation,” said the Emirati minister.

The minister stressed that opportunities for greater investment, collaboration and knowledge-sharing in high-priority sectors such as tourism, renewable energy, food security, information technologies and manufacturing.

The Emirati minister is accompanied by a delegation of 28 representatives of the public sector such as the private sector, from sectors such as tourism, finance and infrastructure.

According to official information, the main Costa Rican export products to the United Arab Emirates include fruits, medical devices, fiber optic cables, ornamental plants and coffee.

The first round of negotiations on this agreement took place in July 2023, the last in November and after high-level meetings both sides announced the closure in January 2024.

Costa Rica and the UAE exchanged embassies living in 2017 and since then more than 25 instruments of various kinds have been signed.

Official data indicate that from 2021 to 2022, total trade grew by 19.3 per cent, to $58.7 million per year. Costa Rican exports reached $43.8 million in 2022, an increase of 21.3 per cent over 2021.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Diario El Mundo