President Laura Chinchilla met with Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Monday in Mexico City during two days of talks on investment, trade and joint security efforts to crack down on drug trafficking in the region. The leaders also signed an extradition treaty and agreements to facilitate the exchange of information about organized crime networks operating in both countries.
“The collaboration in matters of security is essential to strengthen the fight against organized crime,” Chinchilla said. “For countries like Costa Rica, exchange of information is fundamental to combat impunity. For that reason, we sign these agreements as part of a global strategy to continue to involve the international community in the fight that concerns and directly affects us.”
Prior to her visit with Calderón, Chinchilla visited with members of Mexican business and trade chambers. In 2010, trade between Mexico and Costa Rica exceeded $2.7 billion, up from $551 million in 2001. Each of the last 10 years, trade between Costa Rica and Mexico has increased at a rate of 29.6 percent per year.
According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica, Mexican investment in Costa Rica surpassed $9.2 million in 2010. Mexico’s largest investments in Costa Rica are in the tourism, services, trade and industrial sectors.
“Bilateral trade has grown by more than 14 times since the beginning of the free trade agreement between the two countries on December 1, 1995,” Chinchilla said. “In 2010, Costa Rica was the principal destination for Mexican exports in Central America, which indicates an improvement in trade relations and the challenge to continue growing trade opportunities between our countries.”
“Our countries are bastions of the ideals of peace, democracy, the defense of human rights and the environment,” Calderón said. “I know that Costa Ricans and Mexicans will continue working together, and with this visit will continue to fine-tune our relationship so that it is passed down to future generations.”
On Tuesday, Chinchilla gave a speech to the Mexican Counsel of International Affairs and explained the six pillars she felt to be vital to Costa Rica’s development. The list included the decision to remain an army-less country, belief in diplomacy and peace, combating regional security issues, growth of international trade, continued reliance on international law and efforts to maintain the environment and reduce the impact of climate change.
“Peace, democracy and nature have undeniably been the pillars that have paved our route to development and distinct elements of our idiosyncrasy,” Chinchilla said. “Through them we have constructed an institutional scaffolding that has made it possible for Costa Rica to establish high levels of well-being and prosperity for our residents.”
At lunch, Calderón and his wife Margarita honored Chinchilla by giving her a necklace of the national Mexican Aztec Eagle. Chinchilla honored Calderón with a Costa Rican Cruz Placa de Oro, or golden plate.
Chinchilla also met with Marcelo Ebrard, head of Mexico’s independent federal district.