San Jose (Xinhua) - Costa Rica on Friday hailed the strengthening of commercial ties with Mexico after a cooperation agreement was signed between the two countries.
The agreement, signed on Thursday by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was on an official visit to Coast Rica, and his Costa Rican counterpart Oscar Arias in San Jose, covers cooperation in such areas as education, science and tourism.
The agreement would give a fresh boost to bilateral exchanges after the 1995 free trade agreement, said Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz.
The free trade agreement has helped strengthen bilateral ties over the past 14 years and both countries now deem it necessary to expand their cooperation to other areas, Ruiz said.
"We consider it an opportunity to pick up the best practices that have been done since the signature of the first treaty and to update the ruling frame of our relations with Mexico," Ruiz added.
According to the Foreign Trade Ministry, two-way trade has tripled over the last 10 years, rising from 411 million U.S. dollars in 1998 to 1.193 billion dollars last year.
Mexico is the main importer of Costa Rican products including palm oil, almonds, meat, batteries and metal parts.
The ministry said Mexico has now become an important source of foreign investment in the past five years with $271 million, which accounts for 4 percent of the country's total investment inflows.