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Get to Know Costa Rica

International trade success is not only about you and your customers. Learn business facts about the countries that you trade with and familiarize yourself with the different business practices, cultures, customs and economics.

At a Glance

Costa Rica's 19,730 square miles (51,100 square kilometers) are home to 4.5 million people, including a workforce of 2.05 million. The country's estimated 2010 unemployment rate was just 6.7%.

The U.S. Department of State notes, after experiencing positive growth over the previous several years, the Costa Rican economy shrank slightly in 2009 due to the global economic crisis…The economy experienced a rebound in 2010, the U.S. State Department notes. Costa Rica enjoys the region's highest standard of living but also has a history of consumer price inflation, which has remained at a constant annual rate of approximately 10% for the past decade.

Financial Facts
  • Costa Rica's 2010 GDP (known in Spanish as PIB, or Producto Interno Bruto) was US$38.27 billion, or US$10,569 per capita
  • This represents a year-over-year growth rate of 3.6%

The U.S. Department of State reports, Costa Rica has successfully attracted important investments by such companies as Intel Corporation, which employs nearly 2,000 people at its US$300 million microprocessor plant; Proctor and Gamble, which employs about 1,200 people in its administrative center for the Western Hemisphere; and Hospira and Baxter Healthcare from the health care products industry. Manufacturing and industry’s contribution to GDP overtook agriculture over the course of the 1990s, led by foreign investment in Costa Rica’s free trade zone. More than half of that investment has come from the United States.

Perhaps you’re interested in establishing a partnership with one of the country’s exporters. You may be considering joint ventures with Costa Rican companies, franchise or licensing opportunities or sales of your products and services in Costa Rica. Whatever your interests and needs, the resources provided here will lead you to information that can support your entry into this vibrant market.

Costa Rica signed a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico in 1994 and joined other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic in establishing a Trade and Investment Council with the United States in March 1998. In addition, it has signed trade agreements with Canada, Chile and several Caribbean Community countries. The U.S. Department of State notes that the country “was an active participant in the negotiation of the hemispheric Free Trade Area of the Americas and is active in the Cairns Group, which is pursuing global agricultural trade liberalization within the World Trade Organization.”