Representatives from Costa Rica and Panama have agreed to sign a free-trade agreement between the two countries after nine rounds of negotiation.
The agreement will allow 90% of Costa Rican products to enter its southern neighbor tariff-free, while the other 10% will be exempted from taxes for five to 17 years.
During the final round of negotiations, the two countries reached agreements on financial services, telecommunications and ketchup, among other goods and services, according to the Foreign Trade Ministry.
Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz said June 22 he is “very satisfied” with the agreement and that he hopes it will be signed within one month, following a legal review.
His Panamanian counterpart Alejandro Ferrer said, “We have reached a historic agreement, in a moment when there is an excellent relationship between the two countries. I think that with this treaty, our commercial relations will benefit greatly,” according to the wire service ACAN-EFE.
During 2006, Costa Rica exported $268 million worth of goods to Panama and imported $162.7 million worth of goods from that country.