With high military honors [es], the Costa Rican president and Nobel Peace prize winner Oscar Arias was greeted by China, which is something that may sound ironic for some. The blog Fusil de Chispas [es] provides pictures and videos of the visit.
What is the significance behind this new political and commercial relationship? Why did Costa Rica leave 60 years of a political relationship with Taiwan behind in order to start a new one with the Asian commercial Giant, China? Blogger Roy Rojas of the News Star [es] talks about some of the benefits in the switch. Some think that the advantages for a country like Costa Rica are many because Taiwan does not compare whatsoever with China in its economic power and international standing. Costa Rica is the only country in the region to have formal political relations with China. [es]
Since the beginning of the relationship, the visits between the two countries have been reciprocated. As Tiquicia reports, a delegation of Chinese legislators headed by Jiang Enzhu visited Costa Rica on an official 4-day visit, where they were met by the president of the Legislative Assembly Francisco Antonio Pacheco and by the foreign minister Bruno Stagno.
International blogs have also made reference to this important visit. The regional blog Nicaragua Hoy [es] wrote about this visit on its main page and transcribed the words of President Arias, who said,
Para las empresas chinas, Costa Rica constituye un mercado sumamente atractivo, no sólo por el nivel de educación de nuestra mano de obra, sino también por el potencial de exportar a los Estados Unidos libre de impuestos.
For Chinese companies, Costa Rica constitutes a very attractive market, not only because of its level of education of its workforce, but because of its potential to export to the United States tax-free.
The words of Arias makes reference to the recent approval of the Free-Trade Agreement with the United States that was passed by a nationwide referendum.
During the first days of the Chinese visits, a contract to export 150 million dollars worth of Costa Rican shrimp to China was announced, which was followed by a multi-million dollar investment by a Chinese company in the Costa Rican refinery. The international blog Actualidad [es], which is an Ibero-American Observatory of Asia-Pacific, also wrote about an investment of cellular technology.