ABU DHABI, 12th September, 2022 (WAM) -- Arnoldo Andre, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, has highlighted the importance of the UAE for his country, highlighting the increase in bilateral trade by 292.3%, since the opening of the Costa Rican embassy in the UAE in 2017.
In an article published by the newspaper 'La Repblica', Andre said that Costa Rica enjoys 12 years of diplomatic relations with the UAE. Since then, he said "our commercial, educational and tourism ties have been strengthened and represent an example of the enormous advantages of building bridges with the Middle East since our actions in economic diplomacy."
Andre continued, "Since the opening of our Embassy in 2017, Costa Rica's trade with the UAE has increased by 292.3%, according to figures from the UAE Ministry of Economy. For the year 2021, the total trade between both countries reached $49.1 million and, to date, there are significant opportunities for Costa Rican companies to open markets in that country in order to diversify the Emirati food supply chains.
To this end, trade fairs have played a transcendental role in this two-way flow. By September this year, nine Emirati companies belonging to the agribusiness sector have already confirmed their participation in the Buyers Trade Mission (BTM) trade fair, organised by the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer). Since 2018, 37 Emirati companies have attended this trade fair to learn about the productive capacities of Costa Rica and the export potential of our country.
In turn, food security in the Middle East opens up opportunities for the Costa Rican private sector to take advantage of existing agreements, in terms of investment promotion and protection, facilities to avoid double taxation and favourable air transport conditions, among other advantages, as well as the presence of a resident Embassy and a commercial promotion office that, from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively, work hand in hand to generate business opportunities.
As confirmed by Francisco Chacon, Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UAE, there is enormous interest on the part of the Emiratis for Costa Rica to be able to participate in the Arab Travel Market: the main tourism fair in the Middle East, as a priority for them as it is for us the Costa Rican BTM. To date, Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates have 25 bilateral instruments, including trade, investment, tax, tourism promotion and connectivity instruments.
An example of the excellent commercial relationship between the two countries was the recognition granted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Emirate of Sharjah to our Embassy for 'efforts and cooperation as a strategic partner.'
In addition to the commercial relationship, the UAE has outlined actions that demonstrate their interest in cooperating with Costa Rica at the highest level, in terms of education, sustainability and innovation. Along these lines, joint work options have been explored for the development of tools to improve the quality of the design of coastal works and the management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
To date, there are five Costa Ricans awarded scholarships by the Emirati scholarship programme for Costa Rica, four have been awarded scholarships at New York University Abu Dhabi to pursue undergraduate studies, and one Costa Rican is studying for a postgraduate degree at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. In this university, the Costa Rican student Adriana Bermdez, was elected President of the student government of that house of studies.
In the words of Ambassador Chacon, this personal success of the Costa Rican student exemplifies how the talent and expertise of Costa Rican human capital are competitive wherever they are. In the United Arab Emirates, some 175 Costa Ricans contribute to Emirati society from their different spheres as permanent residents, according to data from our Embassy.
Through the Emirates Airlines and its Emirates Holidays group, the country brand "Essential Costa Rica" is also promoted, through the slogan "Discover the natural wonders of Costa Rica". This promotion is available to potential tourists in 161 cities in 85 countries. With a code-share flight system, first with Jetblue and then with Avianca, Emirates Airlines arrives in Costa Rica through connections in the United States and Mexico, respectively, which imply better connectivity and easier travel for Emirati businessmen.
It should be noted that the Emiratis do not require a visa to enter the country, since there is a Memorandum of Understanding for the Promotion of Tourism and this makes the country brand Costa Rica more attractive for the commercial sector, due to the extensive facilities that have been developed, from external action.
During his official visit to Costa Rica last April, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, Executive President of Government Affairs of the Executive Council of Government of the Emirate of Sharjah, said that Costa Rica has great potential yet to be explored with the Emirati federation.
Our actions in economic diplomacy and coordinated inter-institutional work are guarantors of future sustainability of trade and investment dynamics, under the optimum of "friend shoring" between both countries.
Our commercial, educational and tourism ties make the investment of being present in the Gulf profitable. The presence and diplomatic action of Costa Rica in the United Arab Emirates are to direct the gaze towards competitiveness, innovation and sustainability."