2011 exports estimated
at $15.4 billion by PROCOMER
For The CAFTA Report
(Jan. 29. 2012) Exporters and officials are declaring 2011 a successful
international business conducted from Costa Rica.
According to the annual report of Promotora del Comercio Exterior, or
PROCOMER, the country as a whole achieved $15.4 billion in total
exports in 2011. That figure includes $10.4 billion in goods and $5
billion in services. Both were significant increases over 2010. The
exports are compiled of more than 4,300 products that originated in
2,412 companies operating in the country. Those products reached a
total of 145 different destinations across the globe, the report said.
Agricultural products such as bananas and pineapples and industrial
products such as electric cables and tires, among others, saw marked
increases in exportations over 2011.
Costa Rica as an exporter is known for its high-technology goods and
medical supplies. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior reports that
Costa Rica is the largest exporter of advanced technology products in
Latin America and fourth in the world. The ministry also said Costa
Rica is the second largest exporter of medical devices in Latin
America, only trailing Mexico. Many of these goods are manufactured in
the so-called free zones where manufacturers do not have to pay import
taxes on raw materials.
The general manager of Promotora, Jorge Sequeira Picado, said in a
press release that products originating in the free zones saw an
increase of nearly 10 percent over 2010 in value of exports. The
ministry also reports that the free zones are where more than half of
all the country’s exported goods are generated and a third of all the
exported services. The ministry also reports that businesses in the
free zones attracted $470 million in foreign investment in 2011, making
it the sector of the Costa Rican economy that receives the largest
percentage of foreign investment.
The free zones are being eyed by lawmakers for more taxes and to allow
municipalities to assess levies. Promotora opposes this idea, which is
why the emphasis was placed on the free zones or the zonas francas.
Apart from exports the ministry reports that 30 percent of all private
sector jobs, and 13 percent of all jobs, in Costa Rica are generated by
the free zones. The official report indicates that in 2011 several
large corporations such as Bridgestone, Intel, IBM, Helix medical and
GW Plastics opened new installations in these zones.
The United States represents the largest receiver of Costa Rican
exports with a 38 percent share. Holland is the second most valuable
destination for Costa Rican goods with about 7.1 percent of the share.
China is in third with 6.9 percent.