Latin America is the largest emerging market in the world and fastest growing economic bloc in the in the world. New partnerships, intraregional and international Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are happening at an ever expanding rate, with more than 20 FTAs signed in the Latin American and Caribbean free-trade agreements network.
One of the hardest working countries in this regard is China.
China’s political efforts in Latin America seem relentless, and their forward momentum continues especially in Costa Rica.
Let’s take a look at the Costa Rica-China partnership in the past few years:
The China-Costa Rica FTA – Costa Rica is China’s second largest trading partner in Central America while China is the second largest trading partner of Costa Rica. In June 2007, China and Costa Rica established diplomatic relations. In November 2008, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Costa Rica and announced with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias the launch of China-Costa Rica free trade negotiations. The China-Costa Rica FTA entered into force on August 1, 2011China FTA Network
September 2008, it was reported that as part of an incentive package to persuade Costa Rica to shift its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China last year, China agreeing to buy $300 million of Costa Rican bonds, documents released in Costa Rica this week… A memorandum stated that in return for Costa Rica’s shutting its embassy in Taiwan and expelling Taiwanese diplomats, China agreed to buy $300 million in bonds. Reported by New York Times
March 25, 2011, Costa Rica’s National Stadium, officially open its doors. Able to seat 35,000 fans, the stadium cost $100million, a gift from the Chinese.
In December 2011, China announced its largest investment to date agreeing to pay $800 – $900 million to modernize the RECOPE oil refinery in the Caribbean port of Moin. This expands the daily capacity from 25,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels.
February 2012, construction started on the San Jose’s new Chinatown, located Paseo de los Estudiantes in downtown San José’s east side – another $100 million gift from China.
On June 9th, 2012, The Costa Rica News [TCRN] reported a Chinese official of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met with President Laura Chinchilla “advancing their friendship and relations”. China Costa Rica Meet to Deepen Cooperation
On a TCRN Poll, when Costa Ricans were asked whether China or the USA has greater political influence with Costa Rica, 75% said China.