San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Exports Growing, But Not Fast Enough

Exports this year are set to break the $9 billion mark – a record. During the first 10 months of 2007, Costa Rica exported 14.3% more than during the same period in 2006.

That growth rate, however, is not high enough to reach President Oscar Arias’ goal of exporting $16 billion in goods by 2010, Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

“It’s not enough for the goals we have,” Ruiz said. “A greater effort has to be made.” The government has therefore been meeting with private-sector representatives to sort out ways that export growth can be boosted along.

Ruiz said the private sector continues to repeat complaints about the country’s infrastructure, its insufficient workforce and the excess of red tape in the Costa Rican market – all things that Ruiz said the Costa Rican bureaucracy is trying to improve.

Meanwhile,Martín Zúñiga, general manager of the public-private Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) said the increase in trade came from a variety of different sectors, making it “growth that is structurally healthy.”

Milk exports continue to soar on high international dairy prices – they are up 60.8% so far, to $15.67 million. Processed food exports are also making an important jump, with $836.6 million exported so far (including juices, sauces, fruit pulp and alcohol), a 35% increase.

Trade with China continues to boom, with $1.17 billion exported to the Asian giant so far this year, compared with $1.01 billion for all of 2006.

Other export products showing an interesting increase include computer parts not produced in the sprawling Intel complex.

Exports of computer parts have gone from $58 million last year to $207.4 million so far this year, thanks mostly to a single company that Zúñiga declined to name.


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