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British Foreign Minister talks climate, cars and commerce in Costa Rica

October 24, 2011

British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Browne stopped in Costa Rica last week as part of a goodwill tour of Latin America. 

The minister attended the unveiling of the new Land Rover Evoque at the British Motors showroom in the suburb of Santa Ana, west of San José.

The release of the new model corresponds with the 20th anniversary of British Motors’ presence in Costa Rica, though Land Rovers, which are produced by British Motors, have been popular with coffee growers in Costa Rica since the late 1940s.

Costa Rica has the highest number of Land Rovers, per capita, of any country in the world and Browne pointed to that relationship as an example of the fruitful partnership between the two countries.

At the celebration, which featured fireworks, dances, speeches and a brief film about Land Rover’s history in Costa Rica, Oscar Echeverría, general director of British Motors in Costa Rica, said he was pleased with the Browne’s visit.

“The support of the British embassy has been amazing,” Echeverría said. “And with the visit of the minister on such an important celebration like this, I feel very happy.”

Echeverría said the company’s 20th anniversary celebrations will run for the entire year with different activities organized each month.

Browne’s tour covered other parts of Latin America including Mexico, Panama and Brazil. The minister said the tour is part of a new era of engagement with Latin American on the part of the British government.

“We recognize it’s a part of the world we’ve neglected for several decades,” Browne said of the region.

“We see good opportunities in this part of the world for trade and commerce,” he added.

Developing economic ties between Latin America and the United Kingdom, addressing the effects of global climate change and strengthening the resilience of governments in the face of organized crime are the main issues Browne said his tour is trying to address.

Browne also attended the screening of a teaser for a film produced in Costa Rica aimed at getting kids involved in discussions of and finding solutions to global climate change. The film, Odyssey 2050, is slated to open next July.

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