SAN JOSE (Reuters) – Costa Rica will suspend tariff preferences for Panamanian products, the country’s foreign trade ministry said on Thursday, marking another step forward in a trade dispute that began in 2020 step. Subject of World Trade Organization (WTO) litigation.
Costa Rica suspends tariff preferences for its southern neighbor after Panamanian authorities failed to comply with a 2021 ruling regulating the tomato trade between the two sides, according to a statement released by the ministry , which did not specify the affected projects or when the suspension would be implemented.
“I hope they understand … we are ready to go all the way,” Costa Rica’s trade minister, Manuel Tovar, told lawmakers Wednesday.
“Taxing products arriving through free trade as a retaliatory measure is an example of what we would like to do,” he added.
Costa Rica and Panama signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at 2008.
Panama has blocked the entry of Costa Rica products for health reasons, Federico Alfaro, Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement late Thursday in response to Costa Rica suspends tariff preferences.
“International norms prohibit these unilateral actions, and if they apply, we will not hesitate to exercise our rights,” he added.
Panama is the fifth largest market for Costa Rican products by value, according to government statistics.
The total value of Costa Rica’s imports from Panama was 221 million US dollars and the total export value was 2008 million US dollars