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Costa Rica’s Solís hits the road again, this time to Canada

October 8, 2014
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President Luis Guillermo Solís might have to add traveling-salesman-in-chief to his credentials. The Costa Rican leader announced Wednesday that he would travel to Canada to participate in the Toronto Economic Forum during the week of Oct. 26 to drum up more foreign investment for the country in his sixth trip abroad as president.

Solís described the forum as a collection of the 400 largest businesses in the United States and Canada, along with representatives of investment banks and investors. The president said that the trip was part of his promise to bring more foreign investment to Costa Rica.

On Sunday, Oct. 26 and Monday, Oct. 27, Solís will participate in several events organized by the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, CINDE, and COMEX, including a dinner with 150 business representatives. On Tuesday, Oct. 28, his last day in Canada, Solís will speak at the TEF about the future of the inter-American system alongside former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Solís may have his work cut out for himself attracting more business from Canada. Costa Rica and the Canadian mining company Infinito Gold have been embroiled in a dispute over the cancelled Las Crucitas gold mine concession since 2010. The British Columbia-based mining company claimed that Costa Rica violated the Costa Rica-Canada Bilateral Investment Treaty when it canceled the concession amid environmental and administrative scandal. Infinito filed a Request for Arbitration with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes seeking $94 million in damages from the Costa Rican government.

In 2013, Canada invested only $41.9 million in Costa Rica, significantly less than the United States ($1.24 billion) and Mexico ($132 million), according to figures from the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX).

This would mark Solís’ sixth trip abroad since taking office on May 8. In June, he attend the inauguration of Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén; traveled to California and New York to attract foreign investment; and attended a meeting of the Central American Integration System’s in the Dominican Republic.

In July, he traveled to Brazil for a meeting of the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, of which Costa Rica was president pro tempore. In September, Solís traveled to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.

After winning his runoff election, the president went on a traditional meet-and-greet tour of Central American leaders to invite them to his May 8 inauguration.

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