AIA Praises Costa Rican Trade Pact

January 27, 2004

The American Insurance Association applauded the adoption of a new free trade agreement with Costa Rica that will phase out one of the world’s last government monopolies and help insurance companies in the U.S. and Central America.

Praising U.S. trade representatives on the conclusion of the pact, the AIA said it would “open up Costa Rica to greater competition as part of a Central American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement will allow all modes of establishing insurance enterprising — branching, joint ventures and 100 percent foreign-owned subsidiaries — after a relatively brief transition period.”

“This new agreement gives Costa Rican insurance consumers more choice and will help them develop their economy more rapidly,” commented David Snyder, AIA vice president and assistant general counsel. “Insurance plays a key role in economic development by encouraging entrepreneurs to take on risk and by assisting in important capital infrastructure improvements.”

Snyder indicated that, while the agreement is not perfect, it will greatly enhance U.S. insurers’ ability to do business in Costa Rica. Trade negotiators had earlier resisted including Costa Rica in last year’s Central American Free Trade Agreement in part because the country had resisted opening up its insurance market.

The AIA noted that it participated in numerous meetings with USTR and Central American delegations, exchanging information and views about insurance markets and regulatory schemes.

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