Panamanian President Martín Torrijos visited Costa Rica this week to sign a freetrade agreement between his country and Costa Rica and attend celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Esquipulas peace accords signed between Central American countries in 1987 (see separate story).
The free-trade agreement, signed by Torrijos and his Costa Rican counterpart Oscar Arias Tuesday night in San José, was agreed upon in June after nine rounds of negotiations (TT, June 29).
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 2006, Costa Rica exported $268 million worth of goods to Panama and imported $162.7 million worth of goods from that country.
Torrijos traveled here with his First Vice-President and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis, Trade and Industry Minister Alejandro Ferrer, Agricultural Development Minister Guillermo Salazar and a group of Panamanian business leaders.
At a July 27 meeting in David, Panama, between Vice-President Lewis and Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno, the two countries agreed to strengthen ties and strive for more cooperation.
Lewis told the press that during the meeting, the leaders identified border issues on which the two countries plan to work together, including immigration, Customs and security.