Canada and Costa Rica go back to negotiating table

Today Costa Rica and Canada will begin what is expected to be the fifth and final round of negotiations to update the free trade agreement between the two countries.

The two countries have had a free trade agreement in place since 2002. However, delegates from both nations are working on updating the treaty to include products, services and industries that have developed since then.

“What we are trying to do is make it more modern because it was one of the first trade agreements we had,” said Sofia Castresana, a press officer with the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, in a telephone conversation.

One way in which both countries seek to modernize the treaty is by rewriting it to include technological services and products that either had not yet been invented or had not reached the level of use that they currently enjoy.

Telecommunications is one area that has changed dramatically and the new treaty is supposed to take into account changes in this industry and others like it, said Carlos Umaña, a consultant to the ministry, by telephone.

In addition, the countries are trying to update the treaty to make it more clear, straightforward and easy to follow, according to Ms. Castresana.

“We are trying to make it as simple as possible,” she said.

Although this was planned to the last round of negotiations, Umaña said that there will likely be other issues that need to be discussed and settled after the round has concluded.

“This week is supposed to be the last round, but still there are issues that need to be negotiated,” he said.

The fifth round of negotiations is scheduled to begin today in Ottawa, Canada, and will continue until Friday, Sept. 31.

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