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Courting China: Costa Rica Wants Chinese Tourists, Investments

Article Summary:

Five years after the establishment of bilateral ties, Costa Rica is looking to boost relations with China in the investment and tourism sectors.

Photo Credit: Costa Rica Times

Original Article Text From China Daily:

Costa Rica courts Chinese Tourists, Investment

Five years after the establishment of bilateral ties, Costa Rica is looking to boost relations with China in the investment and tourism sectors, Costa Rican Ambassador to China Marco Ruiz said Thursday.

Calling the present “an era of development” for bilateral ties, Ruiz expressed Costa Rica’s hopes to diversify exports to China, as well as attract more Chinese tourists and investment, in order to turn Costa Rica into a platform for China to enter other central American countries.

“If the first three, four years were meant for consolidating the diplomatic bond established in 2007, starting now, we are getting ready to embrace the enormous opportunities that this friendly and mutually beneficial cooperative relationship presents,” Ruiz said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Costa Rica is working to bring more investment to its infrastructure sector in accordance with a development plan established during Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla’s state visit to China in August, he said.

He pointed out the potential of deepening cooperation in the animal husbandry, light manufacturing and business sectors, highlighting Costa Rica’s experience in providing business support for major multinational groups and its population of well-trained professionals.

“We have the perfect conditions for Chinese companies that aim to enter Latin America, North America and the Caribbean to establish themselves,” he said.

Costa Rica now allows Chinese citizens to visit the country on a valid visa issued by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan and the Republic of Korea and will initiate a program next year to bring Chinese businessmen from Beijing and Shanghai to visit Costa Rica.

Procedures for obtaining business visas will be eased for enterprises that are registered under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, he said.

Ruiz said his country’s capital of San Jose will host the 2013 China-Latin America Business Summit, with a significant number of Chinese companies being expected to attend.

“We shall make sure that our Chinese guests get to experience Costa Rica’s rich tourism during their stay,” he said.

The China-Latin America Business Summit was created by CCPIT in 2007 and constitutes the first inter-regional platform between Chinese businesses and their counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2012 forum was held in an East China city of Hangzhou.

Ruiz said the country is still working to develop certain parts of its tourism sector. Since Chinese tourists started visiting Costa Rica in 2008, the country has been making preparations to become one major destination for Chinese travelers.

Ruiz said such efforts have even included encouraging tourism-related businesses to pick up and use the Chinese language with the help of scholarships offered by the Chinese government.

Civil aviation administrations have been discussing possibility of opening direct flights between China and Costa Rica next year, he said.

Ruiz admitted that only a relatively small number of Chinese have visited Costa Rica thus far, but predicted the number to grow in the near future.

The two countries established diplomatic ties in 2007. Since then, China has become Costa Rica’s second-largest trade partner, with trade volume totaling $4.72 billion in 2011.

Costa Rica is the only Latin American economy to maintain a trade surplus with China by exporting computer chips and other electronic parts for hi-tech manufacturing.

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From China Daily

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