San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Exports Up 10.5%, But Down to U.S.

Costa Rican exports hit $3.3 billion in the first quarter of 2008, marking a 10.5 percent increase over the same period last year.

The boost was in large part due to a 400 percent growth in sales of medical implants, which totaled $80 million, according to the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX).

Costa Rica is now considered the second largest provider of such devices to the United States, behind Ireland.

Total exports to the United States, however, dropped slightly, less than 1 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2007.

“It’s apparent that the economic slowdown in the U.S. and the delay in Costa Rica’s implementation of CAFTA (the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States) continue to affect our exports to that market,” said COMEX Minister Marco Vinicio Ruíz.

Exports to the European Union, meanwhile, grew 19.4 percent.

Besides medical products, other sectors that saw export growth were seafood, 11 percent; agriculture, 11 percent; food, 7.7 percent; and manufacturing, 10.6 percent.


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