Ecuador and Costa Rica have made significant progress in negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), Ecuador’s Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries, Julio José Prado, announced on Wednesday.
The official stated on his Twitter account that “significant progress” has been made, allowing to close 14 negotiation tables.
“Tables with progress, but in the negotiation process: market access, services, public procurement,” Prado said.
The Ecuadorian minister also announced that a new round of face-to-face negotiations would be held in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, at the end of this month.
After the presidents of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso and Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, agreed to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement, the two countries began the first round of trade negotiations in a virtual format on Aug. 8.
Both presidents announced on June 9 during the IX Summit of the Americas in the U.S. city of Los Angeles, California.
According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment, and Fisheries, the agreement is a “state-of-the-art trade agreement” that will negotiate 18 disciplines, such as market access for goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, and trade facilitation.
Other negotiating items include trade and labor issues, intellectual property, government procurement, technical barriers to trade and regulatory coherence, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade protection, competition policy, and e-commerce.
The goal is to establish a clear and transparent legal framework for trade regulation and to seek comprehensive liberalization between the two countries.
For Ecuador, the conclusion of a free trade agreement with Costa Rica is key to its strategy to consolidate its position in the Central American market, where it already has trade agreements with Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Central America is an essential destination for Ecuador’s non-traditional exports, especially in manufacturing.
According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment, and Fisheries, Costa Rica was the fifteenth destination for Ecuadorian non-oil exports to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021 and the twelfth destination for agricultural and fishery exports.
Ecuador’s products in the Costa Rican market include canned fish, metal products, bananas, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.