Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the existing free trade agreement between Canada and Costa Rica, as well as the signing of an air transportation agreement and a tax information exchange agreement between the two countries. The announcements were made during a working visit with President Laura Chinchilla in San José, Costa Rica.
“Canada and Costa Rica enjoy excellent bilateral relations. In fact, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Canadian Embassy in San José,” said the Prime Minister. “By removing trade barriers, facilitating air travel between our countries and working together to combat tax evasion, the measures announced today will lead to new opportunities and stronger economies for both Canadians and Costa Ricans.”
Today’s announcements will have far-reaching benefits for Canada and Costa Rica. Most notably:
- Negotiations towards the modernization of the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement will aim to accelerate the elimination of tariffs for agricultural and industrial goods, increase market access and broaden the agreement to cover other areas, such as cross-border trade in services, including financial services.
- The air transportation agreement will further strengthen ties between Canada and Costa Rica by providing airlines with flexibility in terms of routes, frequency of service and pricing, which will in turn promote travel, trade and economic growth in each country. The agreement also marks another step towards the successful implementation of the Blue Sky Policy with countries in Central America.
- The Tax Information Exchange Agreement will create the legal framework that will enable Canada and Costa Rica to exchange relevant tax information. By doing so, it will help Canadian and Costa Rican authorities combat international tax evasion, enforce domestic tax laws and protect the integrity of their tax systems.
Each of the measures announced today is consistent with Canada’s Engagement in the Americas strategy, which aims to promote prosperity at home and in countries of the Western hemisphere.