ABU DHABI, 18th May, 2016 (WAM) – H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has said that the UAE pays ample attention to economic and trade relations with Cost Rica.

He added that the trade exchange between the two countries witnessed a continuous growth from US$3 million in 1999 to $25 million in 2014.

This was revealed in a joint statement issued after the meeting between Sheikh Abdullah and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Costa Rica, Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, held at the ministry in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Sanz and extended thanks for the warm welcome accorded to him while visiting Costa Rica and meeting President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, in the capital, San Jose.

Sheikh Abdullah said, “During the visit, we had constructive discussions on a number of issues of common concern between the two friendly peoples. Here, in the UAE, we feel happy at the distinguished level of bilateral relations between the two countries, especially, today after the signing of an agreement on mutual exemption from pre-entry visa requirements, to the holders of diplomatic and special passports, which is deemed an important step for strengthening bilateral relations.”

He stressed the desire of the two sides to develop co-operation at all avenues and fields, especially the food security, climate change, environment protection and renewable energy areas. He also hailed the positive stance of Costa Rica in these domains, hoping to see Costa Rica as an official member in the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), based in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah referred to the importance of signing the agreement on avoidance of double taxation and promotion and protection of investment agreements to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Today, we discussed the role of the UAE in the food security issue and co-operation in this area with Costa Rica to export meat products and coffee to the UAE. Costa Rica is currently the frontrunner in the food security field and also a centre for approval of Halal products.”

For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Costa Rica praised the UAE-Costa Rican ties.

The two ministers discussed the various existing co-operation relations between the UAE and Costa Rica and ways to boost them in the light of friendship and joint interests that the leaders of both countries aim to enhance.

They also exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments.

At the end of the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah and Sanz signed the agreement of mutual exemption from the pre-entry visa requirements for the holders of the diplomatic and special passports from the UAE and Costa Rica.