In Costa Rica, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in San Jose which opened in 1961.
Costa Rica is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and two consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.
Canada and Costa Rica enjoy strong and diverse bilateral relations. The two countries share similar views in many areas, including human rights, rule of law, security and free trade, as well as views on regional and international issues raised in multilateral institutions.
There are approximately 10,000 Canadian residents in Costa Rica and 150,000 Canadians traveled to Costa Rica in 2012.
Canada has a strong trade relationship with Costa Rica. Bilateral merchandise trade reached $698.8 million in 2012. Merchandise exports totalled $185.4 million in 2012 and imports from Costa Rica totalled $513.4 million.
The entry into force of the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) in November 2002 was a positive development in the relationship. Parallel agreements on environment and labour cooperation were also signed at that time. One of the main objectives of the CCRFTA is to create new opportunities for our respective business communities. During his visit to Costa Rica in August 2011, Prime Minister Harper and Costa Rican President Chinchilla jointly announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the CCRFTA to include cross-border trade in services and government procurement. These negotiations are ongoing.
An open skies-type Air Transport Agreement between Canada and Costa Rica entered into force in April 2012. This Agreement allows any airline from Canada or Costa Rica to operate as frequently as desired between both countries and via any point in third countries. The Agreement gives our airlines greater flexibility and in turn means more options for travelers.
Since 2011, Canada has provided a total of $3.4 million in security assistance to Costa Rica through DFATD’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). This includes $500,000 in navigation and communication equipment announced by the Prime Minister during his 2011 visit, $1.2 million to the National Police School announced during the Summit of the Americas in April 2012 (consisting of bullet-proof vests, helmets, and surveillance vehicles), $60,000 for training of law enforcement officers and investigators by the RCMP, and $1.1 million in ballistics identification technology to Costa Rica’s judicial police. Canada also supports a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional container security project in Costa Rica.
Academic cooperation between Canada and Costa Rica is modest but constructive. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Youth Mobility signed in August 2010 came into effect in July 2011. This Agreement permits youth aged 18-35 to travel and work in each other’s country for up to one year. The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), announced at the Summit of the Americas in 2009, provides scholarship opportunities to Costa Rican college, undergraduate and graduate students for short term studies or research in Canada. Since 2009, seven Costa Rican students have benefited from an ELAP scholarship.
In March 2013, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy visited Costa Rica, at which time she had fruitful meetings with representatives of the Government, civil society and the business community.
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