JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has described Tuesday’s (Mar. 9) signing of the CARICOM/Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement as an important part of the response by countries in the region, to the challenges faced by small economies in seeking to promote growth, prosperity and progress for their citizens. He was speaking at the signing of the Free Trade Agreement held at Jamaica House.
“It will make an important contribution to our goal of widening and deepening the process of economic integration in the region and provide new opportunities for growth and development,” Mr. Patterson said.
The Prime Minister stated that the trade pact would also create opportunities for CARICOM countries and Costa Rica to build new markets for their products, promote investment and create jobs. “It will also improve our capacity to collaborate in the wider trade arena at the hemispheric and global levels, where we are making efforts to move the FTAA process forward and to revive the negotiations in the Doha Agenda for Development in the WTO,” the Prime Minister added.
He said both parties should therefore collaborate their efforts in these areas in ensuring that the interests of their countries are taken fully into account.
Mr. Patterson stressed that it was now up to farmers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and workers in all the countries involved, to ensure that the free trade agreement lives up to its promise of stimulating growth and development. “It is firms that trade, not Governments. So in the final analysis, this is an Agreement for our productive sector,” Mr. Patterson said.
The CARICOM/Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement creates a combined market of ten million people, with CARICOM exporters from all member states having access to four million people in the Costa Rican market. A limited number of products will continue to attract duty when traded under the agreement, while duty on some others will be phased out by January 1, 2007. CARICOM products covered by the region’s Oils and Fats Agreement will continue to be protected and will therefore not be subjected to free trade. The CARICOM/Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement is expected to form the basis for a CARICOM -Central America Free Trade Area.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson on behalf of CARICOM and President Abel Pacheco of Costa Rica, signed the trade agreement in the presence of a gathering which included members of the Jamaican and Costa Rican Cabinets, private sector representatives of both countries and the Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Edwin Carrington.

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