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October 16, 2002
  Contact: Julie Cram
In Costa Rica: 506-381-4316
Heather Layman
In Washington, DC: 202-482-3809

Bush Official Signs Joint Statement of Commercial Cooperation
Helps Boost U.S.-Costa Rica Trade

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas and Costa Rican Minister of Foreign Trade Alberto Trejos today signed a joint statement aimed at boosting commercial cooperation between the two countries. The agreement will build on a business climate that generated $5.4 billion in U.S.-Costa Rican trade last year.

"As neighbors, allies and trading partners, our futures are necessarily tied together. The signing of this statement will further the solid foundation of cooperation the U.S. and Costa Rica enjoy as we work toward a Central American Free Trade Agreement," said Aldonas.

Under the terms of the Joint Statement, the two countries will work together on a work plan to facilitate cooperative initiatives and explore new avenues for mutual trade endeavors. The joint agreement includes the following:

  • Organize an exchange of information on major infrastructure and commercial opportunities in each country through expanded and shared databases.

  • Increase the flow and sharing of information on electronic commerce, technical standards, small business development, and manufacturing quality Improvements.

  • Facilitate trade missions to Costa Rica and the United States, particularly from small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Support the growth and development of tourism between the two countries through trade promotion, data sharing, and partnering activities.

The Statement represents a first step in the broader trade capacity building exercise underway between the U.S. and the five members of the Central American Economic Integration System as they prepare to launch formal free trade area negotiations early next year.

The signing ceremony comes at the end of a 4-day Central American tour, that included meetings with President Bolaños of Nicaragua; President Pacheco of Costa Rica; other senior regional and U.S. government officials; and the private sector, including American companies currently doing business in the region.

Remarking on his trip, Aldonas further noted, "Over the last four days, government, business and civic leaders have demonstrated their support for increased relations between our countries so that all can realize the benefits an open, free trading system can impart. It is now incumbent upon us - the private and public sector leaders - to overcome the challenges facing our regions to advance the cause of freedom and enhance the opportunity for prosperity."

The working group will submit the work plan for consideration by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica by January 2003.

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