Costa Rica’s proximity to the United States and the benefits of the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement are critical in helping facilitate U.S. exports. With ports of entry on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, U.S. exporters can typically ship products to Costa Rica in less than a week and can easily travel to meet with sales representatives, distributors, or end-user clients within the same day. Flight routes suspended due to pandemic restrictions have since been reopened with 15 direct flights available to U.S. cities.
Within Central America, Costa Rica is a strong ally of the United States. Costa Rican citizens are very accustomed to doing business with the United States and many U.S. products command strong brand recognition. The large American expat population and the prevalence of the use of the English language in country are viewed as key advantages for U.S. firms doing business in Costa Rica.
Despite a growing Asian presence in certain markets, Costa Rican citizens value conducting business with a neighboring partner with a reputation for providing quality products with strong after-sales service. Costa Rica’s per capita GDP of over $12,000 is among the highest in the region, a figure on par with that of Panama. The country’s strong middle class enjoys a high degree of purchasing power and has an ability to choose higher-value, international products. Further, under CAFTA-DR most U.S. consumer products and industrial goods enter Costa Rica duty-free.
Market prospects are excellent in a variety of sectors, including information technology, building products, construction equipment, hotel and restaurant equipment, solar energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, auto parts and service equipment, electric vehicles and related equipment, packaging, education, and tourism to the United States. Within many of these sectors, U.S. firms have captured a strong share of the market.