Hundreds of farmers demonstrated on Wednesday in downtown San José because of the harm they consider that Costa Rica’s integration to the Pacific Alliance trade group, composed of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, would mean for them.
“The Pacific Alliance threatens Costa Rica’s agricultural production, less farmers, less food, more misery for many,” said the sign of a demonstrator. “No to the Pacific Alliance. Yes to national production”, encouraged another sign of a group of farmers who came from Tarrazú, 60 km south of San José.
A tractor loaded with fruits and vegetables crossed the main avenue of the Costa Rican capital, surrounded by hundreds of demonstrators, carrying a banner that read “national policy for the integral development of the Costa Rican agricultural sector”.
The possibility of Costa Rica joining the Pacific Alliance was taken up again last June 2022 after the inauguration of President Rodrigo Chaves.
Negotiations with the Latin American trade group began in 2014 under the government of Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014), but were halted during subsequent governments, as they considered that the agricultural and food sectors could be disadvantaged since joining the bloc implies the almost total elimination of tariffs for products from member countries.
“What the Pacific Alliance does is favor the interests of large corporate groups,” a cheerleader told the demonstrators through loudspeakers.
Costa Rica maintains a trade exchange with the four countries of the group of 2,000 million dollars, 7.2% of Costa Rican trade with the world, according to data from the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex).
The Pacific Alliance, formed in 2012, is a market of some 230 million people and represents 41% of the GDP of Latin America and the Caribbean.
One of the requirements to join the Alliance is to have signed free trade agreements with the four member countries, a step already fulfilled by Costa Rica.