Dubai [UAE], April 18 (ANI/WAM): Manuel Tovar, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, hails the UAE as a "reliable partner and trade gateway" to the Middle East and Gulf countries, following the signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the CEPA signing, Tovar said that the agreement marks a new era in promoting trade and investment relations between the two countries.

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He stressed the importance of strengthening and expanding economic partnership with the UAE, recognising the country's strategic economic weight, not only regionally but also in international markets.

He commended the UAE's success in diversifying its economy beyond oil, leading to a developed and flexible economic structure, particularly in the service trade, a focus area for both nations to underscore and reinforce through the CEPA.

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Tovar stressed the mutual interest in bolstering economic ties through the CEPA, emphasising sectors like renewable energy, where Costa Rica aims to fulfill over 90 per cent of its electricity needs from sustainable sources. Tovar discussed potential collaboration and investment opportunities in renewable energy, presenting promising prospects for businesses in both countries.

Moreover, Tovar identified agriculture and food processing as key areas of cooperation, with a focus on expanding Costa Rica's exports of various agricultural products such as apples and coffee. He also highlighted the potential for tourism growth between the two countries, noting the UAE's diverse attractions.

Non-oil trade between the UAE and Costa Rica has shown consistent annual growth, with a remarkable 23 per cent increase in 2022, reaching $60.4 million, more than double the value recorded in 2018. (ANI/WAM)

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