Costa Rica seeks entry to trans-Pacific trade bloc

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Costa Rica formalized its request to join a trade partnership of 11 countries across Asia, Australia and the Americas, President Rodrigo Chaves announced on Wednesday, in a step toward strengthening trade ties with Asian economies.

The Central American country's government finalized its petition to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) a month after announcing it would negotiate entry into the Pacific Alliance bloc of Latin American countries.

"It allows us to share commercial strategies, attract investment and create linkages for small and medium-sized companies," said Chaves, who said the CPTPP accounts for 17% of global trade.

The CPTPP went into effect in 2018 as an offshoot of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, following the United States' departure from that proposed trade bloc. Current members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Costa Rica, with 5.2 million inhabitants, has free trade agreements with nine countries and is negotiating one more with Ecuador, in addition to regional trade agreements with the European Union, Caribbean states (Caricom) and Central American countries (CAFTA).

(Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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