- Category: Business
- Published on Friday, September 23 2011 02:12
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 538
Costa Rica is one of the most open nations when it comes to international trade, World Trade Organization (WTO) president Pascal Lamy told the annual WTO forum this week.
His remarks came in his introduction of President Laura Chinchilla who had been invited to give the opening speech at the forum. It was high praise indeed from an organization often rent by fracticious bickering about trade issues.
Even Costa Rican representatives have been occasionally involved in defending their country against accusations of unfair trade practices. The most common clashes between nations are about restrictions of imports and subsidies paid to local producers, giving them a price advantage.
This country began to open up to international trade as a result of its financial crisis in the early 1980s when it defaulted on its loans due to a drastic price drop in its then-principal export, coffee.
It became clear then that the country had to diversify its exports and to do this, had to have freer trade. After three decades, the country has nine free trade treaties and two (European Union and Singapore) signed but not yet ratified by lawmakers.
Lamy's praise for the country gave Chinchilla cache to chide member nations for not finishing negotiations to liberalize trade, talks that have dragged on since 2001 with still 20% of the agenda to be agreed. Last May, Lamy told the world that the talks were all but dead.
"We can't look at the (agreement) as a unilateral concessio0n of developed nations to nations in development," she said, "On the contrary, we must understand the opportunity for all nations to promote an improved mutual benefit."