First round of negotiations with vehicle inspection firm ends

The transport minister said that the first round of negotiations with the company that inspects vehicles here has concluded.

The central government and the Spanish firm Sociedad Española Supervisión y Control are trying to reach an agreement over how much Costa Rica will pay. The firm is the major partner in the Riteve SyC operation that has some 13 inspection stations in Costa Rica. The firm’s concession ran out in July, but it is continuing to do the job until a new concession agreement is reached. If negotiations fail, the company probably will go to international arbitration under current investment treaties.

The firm says the government owes it money because increases in the amount charged vehicle operators for inspection have not been raised sufficiently.
Negotiations were in Florida, according to Francisco Jiménez, the minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes. Negotiations ended Friday.

Although no specific amounts are being made public, the Spanish firm is understood to be seeking millions of dollars. The company has a substantial investment in the high-tech inspection stations that it constructed.

Periodically lawmakers, under pressure from private auto shop owners, say they will open up the inspection to more companies. Riteve SyC got the job because the quality of inspection varied depending on what shop did the job. The pre-Riteve SyC inspections were mostly for exhaust emissions.

Jiménez blamed prior adminstrations for the problems with the vehicle inspection company.

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