Trade treaty with four European nations OK’d

The Asamblea Legislativa has approved on final and second reading a trade treaty between Costa Rica and Panamá and four European states.

The European states are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The agreement was reached last June, but legislative ratification was needed. The four countries make up a trading bloc, the European Free Trade Association.

The four countries are those whose leaders were reluctant to join the European Economic Community in the 1960s.

Costa Rican trade officials said they expect the exports to these European nations to continue to be mainly agricultural products. Trade with these countries has increased 250 percent in the last decade, officials said.

Under the treaty, nearly 99 percent of Costa Rica products will not be subject to customs duties. About 93 percent of the European exports will enter Costa Rica duty-free, officials said.

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