UAE and Costa Rica have ratified the terms of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) under which both the countries will eliminate or lower tariffs, reduce barriers to trade, promote private-sector collaboration and create pathways for investment, a report said.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, have officially approved the terms of the CEPA, Emirates News Agency, Wam, said.

Bilateral non-oil trade between the UAE and Costa Rica has been growing consistently year-on-year, climbing 23% in 2022 to reach $60.4 million – which is more than double the value recorded in 2018.

Costa Rica’s economy has demonstrated resilience amid global challenges, growing by 4.7% in the first half of 2023, with services contributing 66.9% to the country’s GDP. It is also a regional leader in clean energy, with hydropower the dominant source of energy in the country, which offers considerable scope for investment.

Al Zeyoudi said: “The UAE and Costa Rica are both nations that see the immense benefits of open trade, and the opportunities for further economic collaboration in key sectors such as tourism, renewable energy, food security, ICT and manufacturing.

“Costa Rica is one of the most promising, investment-friendly economies in Latin America and we look forward to building on our positive relationship to accelerate trade flows and establish platforms for investment and joint-ventures.

“We are both committed to developing resilient, future-proof and sustainable economies and this partnership will enable us to support each other’s efforts.”

Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, said: “It fills me with satisfaction and pride to have reached the closure of this negotiation. A CEPA with the United Arab Emirates marks a milestone for Costa Rica, as it is the first time that Costa Rica has signed an agreement with a Middle Eastern and Gulf country.

“I am certain that the future entry into force of the CEPA will consolidate the relationship between Costa Rica and the UAE, a long-standing partner and friend, as it would expand and diversify opportunities for our exportable supply and for consumers and producers, provide legal certainty for trade and investment activities and promote economic cooperation among our countries.”

The UAE launched its CEPA programme in September 2021 and has successfully concluded deals with India, Indonesia, Israel, Türkiye, South Korea, Cambodia, Colombia, Georgia, Mauritius and Congo-Brazzaville. The first four agreements have already come into effect.

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