President urges Mexican business leaders to consider Costa Rica

Ms. Chinchilla is escorted past an honor guard at the Mexican monument to the Niños Heroes, the six teenage military cadets who fought the invading U.S. military at Chapultepec Castle and died in 1847. She participated in presenting a traditional floral tribute. Photo: Casa Presidencial

President Laura Chinchilla promoted Costa Rica as a place to put investments when she met with some 100 Mexican business executives Monday.

The president noted that Costa Rica has had a free trade treaty with México for 15 years and that Mexican imports to Costa Rica have increased 11.3 percent during the last five years. Costa Rican exports to México grew about 9.9 percent during the same period, said the president in a talk to the business people.

She told the group that Costa Rica represented a sustainable and growing location for expansion by Mexican firms. She also noted the presence of many such firms now, including BIMBO, MABE, CEMEX and COMEX

In a joint memorandum, Ms. Chinchilla and Mexican President Felipe Calderón said that exchanges of information about criminal activities between the two countries would increase and that the countries would work together more against drug trafficking.

The presidents noted that during the visit the two countries signed an extradition treaty which would speed the return to México of any traffickers with Mexican citizenship found in Costa Rica.
The pair also promised to continue their fight against climate
change and reiterated their support for United Nations activities in that direction and also the related Protocol of Kioto and the Accords of Cancún.

They also said that they would continue their fight in a coordinated way against organized crime, illegal trafficking of migrants, trafficking in persons and the international trafficking of weapons.

During the first day of her two-day visit, Costa Rica and México also signed an agreement for the recuperation and return of stolen vehicles and planes and agreed to cooperate in building institution capacities for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Although the trip is mainly commercial, Costa Rican officials are seeking help and guidance in stemming drug trafficking by Mexican cartels that have infiltrated into Costa Rica.

Calderón has been engaged in open warfare with drug gangs since he took office in December 2006. More than 40,000 persons have died in drug related violence since then. Calderón used the army to displace the presumed corrupt local police forces, but that has had mixed results.

Ms. Chinchilla and the delegation are expected to return late tonight on commercial airliner.

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