Doing Business in Costa Rica
Costa Rica remains one of the safest and most attractive country for foreign investment in Latin America. The Costa Rican government, its ministries and financial institutions maintain a decidedly pro-U.S. and continental stance in regard to financial security and tax laws.
The stated aim is to entice primarily high-tech corporations to take advantage of Central America's most educated, computer literate and disciplined workforce, along with the modern production infrastructure the country is currently creating. Costa Rica's economy is being transformed from its long-time dependence on coffee, bananas and cattle raising to one centered on microprocessor production and high-tech telecommunications services.
The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
AmCham is an important resource for anyone interested in doing business in Costa Rica. http://www.amcham.co.cr/
Costa Rica's investment-friendly climate and government policy of making this Central American country "the Silicon Valley of Latin America" and has enticed commercial leaders such as Acer, Microsoft, GE, Abbot Laboratories, Continental Airways and Intel Corporation. They have made sizable investments in Costa Rica both financially and physically, having major production and distribution facilities. Western Union has chosen Costa Rica to host its Latin American regional operations center. In 1998 Costa Rica was poised to earn more from high technology exports than from coffee or bananas or even its lucrative, thriving tourism industry.
The World Bank has given Costa Rica an excellent bill of overall political and economic health. At its annual conference in El Salvador this year, the bank lauded Costa Rica as possessing "one of the most stable and robust" democracies in Latin America. It went on to praise the Costa Rica's "healthy economic growth rate" and "some of the best social indicators" on the continent.
Costa Rica is one of the most vocal supporters of continental free trade, and already has its own agreement with Mexico and Central American countries. Costa Rica's numerous free trade zones and tax holiday opportunities are extremely enticing. They offer benefits such as exemption from import duties on raw materials, capital goods, parts and components; unrestricted profit repatriation; tax exemption on profits for eight years and a 50 percent exemption for the following four years.
Costa Rica is building a competitive advantage for itself and the many high-tech companies who have chosen or are pondering the option to operate here. Costa Rica is a country at a turning point in integrating itself into the modern world economy. Those doing business here will have the inside track.
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