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China, Costa Rica work on possible free trade deal
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Trade officials from Costa Rica and China on Friday concluded their first technical meeting on a possible free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.


Reviewing the results of the meeting, Costa Rica's Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz said the framework to study the FTA had been set.


A study on the possible FTA should be ready in six months and a bilateral meeting in Beijing is scheduled for April. A final meeting in San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, is also planned for June.


"China has joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Therefore it has been adjusting its policies to international norms, and it is very important that we have all the information at hand in order to evaluate the FTA's potential benefits and critical points," said Ruiz.


Ruiz said the two countries would review their macroeconomic policies, the state of trade accords in the WTO and with other countries, investment and trade promotion policies and the dispute settlement mechanism.


Zhu Hong, deputy director-general of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of Ministry of Commerce of China, said Costa Rica is an important trade partner of China in Latin America, and two-way trade is growing rapidly, with the volume hitting 2.6 billion US dollars from January to November in 2007.


Among Latin American countries, China has signed a free trade agreement with Chile and is holding negotiations on such a deal with Peru.


(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2008)


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