Costa Rica’s commitment to economic growth and social development has driven its economy towards diversification, including the creation of very strong sectors in advanced manufacturing, medical devices, services and tourism. Today, Costa Rica exports thousands of distinctive products to the world and is highly recognized as one of the top 30 leading exporters of high-tech products. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country’s political stability and high education levels. Over 200 global companies have chosen Costa Rica as an establishment location.
The overarching objective of Costa Rica’s trade policy is to promote, facilitate and consolidate the country’s integration into the international economy. To that end, a package of core strategies has been implemented in the last decade to guide and lend consistency to the national policy in the quest for a larger presence on world markets, which include participation in the multilateral system, furthering regional integration, negotiating trade and investment agreements and further opening up the economy.
Up to date, Costa Rica has free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, the CARICOM countries and China. It has also signed free trade agreements with Singapore, Peru and the European Union. The first two are awaiting congressional ratification and the one with the EU is under legal revision prior to its signing. Costa Rica is an active member at the World Trade Organization.
WHY INVEST IN COSTA RICA?
- The 2008 World Bank Survey for Global Governance Indicators, ranks Costa Rica in the first place within Latin America for political stability
- Army abolished in 1948
- Ranked among the highest in Political Stability and Absence of Violence index in Latin America (World Bank, 2008)
- More than 100 years of democracy
- Currently, more than 200 multinational companies are operating in Costa Rica
- Exceptionally talented and bilingual young workforce. On average 95% of the employees in multinational companies are local
- Preferential access platform to 1/3 of the world’s population, and 2/3 of worldwide GDP. 90% of goods exports through free trade agreements
- Excellent business climate based on a renowned democratic tradition, economic and political stability
- 93% of energy is renewable; electricity costs are low and guaranteed. Redundant telecommunications access
- Quality of life in Costa Rica is high. Safest country in Latin America; and one of the top 5 environmental performers
- The country has no limitations on capital funds transfers associated with an investment, regardless of the currency
- No restrictions are imposed on re-investments or on repatriation of earnings, royalties or capital
- There is no requirement to register investments with any of the government authorities
- Costa Rica has achieved international standards for IPR protection.
For further information, please visit the website of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE). At their download center you will be able to find specific information on Costa Rica’s infrastructure, Telecommunications, Education, Free Trade Zone Regime, Human Capital, Immigration Requirements, Industrial Parks, Key economic indicators, Labor regulations, Life in Costa Rica, Setting up a Business in Costa Rica, Taxation, Trade Agreements and Preferential Access, Workforce, etc.
COSTA RICAN EXPORT PRODUCTS
Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Corporation (PROCOMER) offers updated information related to Costa Rica’s export supply, exports statistics, opportunities to conduct on-line business procedures, as well as an exports, imports and services directory. You can see a video at the end of the page.
Publications to assist foreign investors and business people:
- Setting up a business in Costa Rica
- Investor’s Manual
- Free Trade Zone Regime in Costa Rica
- Exports, Imports and Services Directory
- Labor Regulations
- Immigration Procedures for Companies
- Tariff rates (in Spanish)
- Doing Business in Costa Rica: 2009 Country Commercial Guide for US (by the US Commercial Serviceof the US Departmento of Commerce)
The new website Crear Empresa is a single stop window for the registration and activation of companies that facilites the establishment and operation of companies in Costa Rica. This platform can be accessed by all persons, nationals or foreigners, who wish to know or follow-up on the procedures required to start a business or establish a company in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican Government institutions:
- Ministry of Foreign Trade (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Commerce (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Finance (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Agriculture (Spanish only)
- Central Bank (Spanish only)
- Financial System Regulator (SUGEF) (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Education (Spanish only)
- Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (Spanish only)
- Ministry of Science and Technology (Spanish only)
- Office of Immigration
- Official site of the President of Costa Rica (Spanish only)
- Costa Rican Statistics and Census Bureau (Spanish only)
- National Registry (Spanish only)
- Government procurement (Spanish only)
Costa Rican Chambers and Private Sector Associations
- Chamber of Industry (Spanish only)
- Chamber of the Food Industry (Spanish only)
- Chamber of Information Technology and Communications
- Costa Rican Textile Chamber
- Chamber of Commerce (Spanish only)
- American Chamber of Commerce
- Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Enterprises (Spanish only)
- Chamber of Foreign Trade and Representatives of Foreign Firms (Spanish only)
- Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE)
- National Banana Corporation (CORBANA) (Spanish only)
- Costa Rican Sugar Association (LAICA) (Spanish only)
- Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors (Spanish only)
- Costa Rican Chamber of Construction (Spanish only)