Temporary entry of raw materials, intermediate products, components used in goods intended for export, machinery, equipment, spare parts, and tools used to produce exported goods, are available for firms registered to operate within a free trade zone (FTZ) or under the “Regime of Active Finishing.” Under the free trade zone statute, the government does not consider imported goods to have entered Costa Rican customs territory. The initial investment must be at least $150,000 for an investment inside FTZ or $2 million outside a FTZ. The companies typically involved in Free Trade Zone regimes are processing, trading, and service companies. Under the Regime of Active Finishing, duties on imports for exported goods are suspended for six months for materials and components, and five years for equipment, tools, and parts. These terms can be renewed. Either regime is available to foreign or domestic investors by applying to the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX).
FTZ benefits have been extended through negotiations with WTO authorities.
Construction equipment, sound or film equipment, commercial samples of significant value, etc. may be granted temporary entry by customs. Temporary entry is contingent on the payment of an amount equal to the duties that would have been paid if the items were imported.
The amount is refunded when the item is re-exported. Hiring a customs broker for this process is highly recommended.
For more information, please refer to trade.gov’s Costa Rica Business Service Provider list.