Wednesday, March 18, 2009

China's to invest in science center in Costa Rica

(AFP/File/Dibyangshu Sakar)San Jose (AFP) – China will invest $65 million toward a science and technology park in Costa Rica, in a deal with private companies and four state universities, a news report has said.

The park would be the latest multi-million dollar cooperation project since Costa Rica became the first country in the region to establish diplomatic ties with China on June 1, 2007.

"We've reached a deal ... the idea is a development zone with research and production to attract investments," said Chinese Ambassador Wang Xiaoyuan, according to La Nacion daily.

Costa Rica plans to begin work on the park this year but is still seeking a suitable site, minister for competivity Jorge Woodbridge said in the same newspaper.

The park will have four areas of investigation: biotechnology, mechanical equipment design, information technology and nanotechnology, with joint financing from the government, private companies and the universities, Woodbridge said.

Last week President Oscar Arias laid the first stone of a new 74-million-dollar national stadium to be built by China in San Jose.

Part of China's incentives for Costa Rica's recognition also came from its enormous foreign exchange reserves with an offer to buy $300 million in bonds. It is also currently negotiating a free trade deal with San Jose.

Both Taiwan -a democratic self-ruled island that Beijing considers part of its territory awaiting reunification- and China have been accused of using so-called "dollar diplomacy" to get nations to ally with them.

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