The UAE and Costa Rica have held talks to deepen trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade for Costa Rica, discussed global trade priorities in the build-up to the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), which will be held in Abu Dhabi in February next year.
Economic ties between the UAE and the Central American country have been growing rapidly in recent years, supported by the establishment of the Costa Rican Embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2017.
Last year, non-oil bilateral trade climbed to $58.7 million, representing an increase of 19 per cent from 2021, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade said in a statement on Monday.
“With its focus on foreign exports to drive trade and stimulate its post-pandemic recovery, its surging tourism sector and global renewable energy leadership, Costa Rica is a partner of considerable potential for the UAE,” said Dr Al Zeyoudi.
Costa Rica has proven to be one of Latin America’s most resilient economies, recovering strongly from the global pandemic to register the fourth-fastest gross domestic product increase on the continent in 2022, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, with growth projected to hit 2.3 per cent in 2023.
Exports continue to be a key driver of Costa Rica’s economy and are essential in taming inflation, the OECD said.
The country is a large importer of UAE aluminium, dates and dried fruits, while the Emirates imports furniture, electronic cables, medical devices and pineapples.
"We both look to expand our foreign trade networks and believe we can help deliver lasting change on some of the important issues facing the multilateral trading system and deliver a transparent, inclusive and rules-based global trading environment for us all,” said Mr Tovar.
Dr Al Zeyoudi said the UAE-Costa Rica partnership can offer substantial opportunities for investors and further consolidate the ties between the Emirates and Central America.
“Costa Rica is a dynamic, innovation-based economy with considerable synergies with our own. The UAE is keen to work in close collaboration on all fronts and elevate our partnership in the months and years ahead,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.
He said the UAE will seek to build consensus on issues such as dispute resolution, food security, digital trade, and sustainability, which will all be high on the agenda at MC13 next year.
The WTO's Ministerial Conference usually meets every two years. The last time the conference was held in the GCC was in 2001, in Doha.