The trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Costa Rica and El Salvador is scheduled to enter into force as of Oct. 1 this year, the European Commission said Friday.
"Trade barriers between the EU, Costa Rica and El Salvador will be lifted as of Oct. 1, when the trade pillar of the EU-Central America Association Agreement enters into application with these countries," said the statement.
The EU and Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama have been applying the Agreement since Aug. 1. Guatemala is finalising procedures to allow for provisional application soon, according to the statement.
"This ambitious trade partnership will open up new markets and simplify rules, boosting trade and investments in both regions," said the Commission.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht hailed the deal as "the first true region-to-region Association Agreement signed by the EU."
"I am pleased Costa Rica and El Salvador can now benefit from the trade deal, which is an important step towards our goal of applying the agreement to the whole region," he added.
The Commissioner expected the deal to be "a major stimulus for the economic integration of Central America," while urging companies on both sides to "take full advantage of the many opportunities the deal offers.