Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement

Background Information

Free trade negotiations with Costa Rica were launched on June 30, 2000 by International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew. Previously, the Government of Canada had consulted extensively on whether to embark on this initiative with businesses, citizen-based organizations and Canadians at large, as well as the provinces and territories. The response was positive, especially from small and medium-sized enterprises.

In total, there were seven rounds of negotiations, with the location of talks alternating between Canada and Costa Rica. A wide variety of topics were discussed including market access, competition policy, and institutional provisions and dispute settlement. Separate discussions were also held on labour and environmental issues, resulting in cooperation agreements.

The Canadian and Costa Rican delegations were lead respectively by, Claude Carrière, Director General of Trade Policy at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Anabel González, Vice-Minister of the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Trade.

Negotiations were concluded in early April 2001 and the agreement came into force on November 1, 2002.

The Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) is a first-generation agreement that focuses mainly on trade in goods and does not include substantive provisions in areas such as cross-border trade in services, financial services, investment and government procurement.

On August 27, 2010, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, then Minister of International Trade, announced that Canada and Costa Rica had agreed to work toward modernizing the existing bilateral free trade agreement. Subsequent government-to-government exploratory discussions and public consultations with domestic stakeholders revealed broad-based support for the launch of negotiations to modernize the CCRFTA.

On August 11, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, announced the two countries will begin negotiations to modernize the existing Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (see News Release: PM announces measures to strengthen Canada's engagement with Costa Rica).

In June 2012, Canada and Costa Rica completed the fourth round of negotiations, followed by the fifth round of negotiations in August 2012. Good progress has been made and most of the chapters are closed. Negotiators are in contact to plan next steps.