CA-EU Association Agreement

Negotiations towards an Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union started in October 2007 in San Jose, Costa Rica and concluded in May 2010 in Madrid, under the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This instrument establishes a new relationship between the European Union and the six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras) under the framework of an agreement based on three pillars: Political Dialogue, Cooperation and Trade.

The trade part of the agreement establishes a free trade area for goods and services between both regions by eliminating barriers to trade and facilitating the trade flow between the Parties, while promoting foreing direct investment, economic growth and  the creation of employment opportunities.

The agreement was signed by representatives of the Parties during the first semester of 2012 and the trade part has been approved in 2013 and has been implemented ever since.


  • Trade balance with the European Union

The European Union is one of the world’s biggest economies with a population of aproximately 498 million inhabitants (versus Costa Rica’s 4.5 million) and an income per capita much higher than that of Costa Rica. This is how the EU has become one of the main destinations for Costa Rican exports and used to be the second trade partner behind the United States of America.

In 2010, Costa Rica exported to the EU up to US$1.675,9 millons while, on the other hand, imported US$1.087,1 millons. In 2013, the UE represented 17,6% of the overall exports of Costa Rica and 7,6% of its imports, subsequently becoming the third trade partner of Costa Rica behind the United States of America and China.

Costa Rica’s main export products to the EU are: computer parts (microchips), bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, electronic circuits, medical devices, shrimp, watermelons and casava, amongst others.

On the other hand, Costa Rica’s imports from the European Union were mainly electronic circuits, crude materials, bulbs, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and related products, amongst others.

During the last decade, Costa Rica achieved to consolidate its exports to the European Union under the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (known as GSP Plus), specifically with agricultural products such as: pineapple, melon, watermelon, papaya, shrimp, coffee and flowers and foliage leaves.