Above: Jamaican Foreign Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh
Jamaican and Costa Rican officials met in Kingston this week to discuss a potential Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. The Costa Rican delegation was led by Anabel Gonzalez, the country’s minister of foreign trade, while Jamaica’s team was led by Foreign Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh.
Costa Rica signed an agreement with CARICOM for seven years, but only Trinidad, Guyana and Barbados have completed the ratification process. Jamaica is the only remaining member of CARICOM’s MDCs (more developed countries) not to have formally implemented the agreement.
The government said it has been applying the agreement on a provisional basis, and has taken the decision to bring it into force.
According to Gonzalez, trade between Trinidad and Costa Rica has increased 48 percent since that country ratified the agreement in 2005. Jamaica imported $52.8 million worth of Costa Rican products last year, making it Costa Rica’s second-most important market in the Caribbean. But Jamaica’s exports to Costa Rica totaled just $514,000 in goods.
Baugh said that Jamaica was looking to penetrate the Costa Rican market, but said it was important to consider the impact of the deal on Jamaica.
“We have to plan carefully, with some measure of protection for our sensitive domestic sectors, even while we cooperate,” Baugh said.
–Jamaica Information Service