The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica ratified a free trade agreement with Colombia on Thursday night that covers approximately 70 percent of exports from both countries, according to an official source on Friday.
The agreement was endorsed by both governments in May 2013 and legislative approval in a first debate was reached last March.
“This agreement builds a modern instrument that provides access opportunities to markets in both directions, as well as the potential to generate business, commercial exchange and investment,” Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González said.
“Colombia is a commercial partner that offers a market comparable to Central America in the size of its population, but with above-average growth for Latin America,” González added.
The agreement excludes a series of goods that are “sensitive” for the economies of both countries, such as metals, paper, beer, certain kinds of oils and dairy, according to officials.
For these and other goods the agreement will be phased in during a period of five to 15 years.
The trade relationship between Costa Rica and Colombia has grown steadily in the last 10 years, increasing from $239.4 million in 2003 to $394.4 million in 2013.
However, that relationship has heavily favored Colombia, as Costa Rica in 2013 exported $71.6 million, the equivalent of 18 percent of total bilateral trade. But González highlighted the importance of Colombian investments in Costa Rica, which in the same decade have increased to $551.9 million in areas such as manufacturing, commerce and finance.