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Canada-Costa Rica Relations

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 9,000-10,000 Canadian residents in Costa Rica, including dual nationals, and 172,730 Canadians traveled to Costa Rica in 2014.

Canada has a strong trade relationship with Costa Rica. Bilateral merchandise trade reached $729.67 million in 2014. Merchandise exports totalled $152.0 million in 2014 and imports from Costa Rica totalled $577.6 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. Negotiators have held several rounds of negotiations and are in contact to plan next steps.

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 $4.9 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.

Academic cooperation between Canada and Costa Rica is modest but constructive. 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, 21 Costa Rican students have benefited from an ELAP scholarship. On December 31st, 2013, 123 Costa Rican citizens were studying in Canada on a study permit valid for 6 months or more.

Canada is fostering the creation of new institutional linkages between Costa Rican and Canadian post-secondary institutions. Eight senior officials from a Costa Rican post-secondary institution have been invited to Canada to participate in a 10-day ELAP collaboration mission. The delegates of the Collaboration Missions tour Canadian universities and colleges to explore agreements which facilitate the ELAP scholarships and often result in research collaboration and joint academic projects.

Furthermore, two students from Costa Rica were selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program Study Tour. Students are chosen to participate in a week-long ELAP Democracy Study Tour that exposes them to Canadian models of democratic governance, human rights, accountability in the public service, elections, independent media, corporate social responsibility, indigenous inclusion, Canada’s legal system, rule of law and sound fiscal/monetary policies.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica Concerning Youth Mobility signed in August 2010 came into effect in July 2011. This Arrangement enables youth ages 18-35 to travel and work in each other’s country for up to two years.

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. Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird visited Costa Rica in July 2013. He had the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations with President Laura Chinchilla and Minister of Foreign Affairs José Enrique Castillo. Parliamentary Secretary David Anderson attended the inauguration of the new Costa Rican President, Luis Guillermo Solis, on May 8, 2014.

March 2015

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