San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

More Foreign Companies To Begin Operations

As the global economy recovers, more multinational companies are looking to invest in Costa Rica.

The latest was medical device manufacturing company Nitinol Devices & Components (NDC), whose decision to begin operations in the country was announced this week.

Gabriela Llobet, the director general of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), estimated that six more companies will break ground for or inaugurate new operations in the upcoming months.

NDC manufactures medical guide wires used for non-invasive surgery. The company is negotiating to set up a facility in one of San José’s free trade zones, where businesses can import materials and export goods without quotas or tariffs (TT, Jan. 29) Llobet said the Fremont, California-based NDC was a good fit for the country because of Costa Rica’s proximity to its primary market, the United States.

In addition, other medical device manufacturers are already having success in Costa Rica.

“It’s a strategic location,” Llobet said. “Just by the fact that we already have all these companies operating here in this sector – it’s a great indication that they can find the required human capital to not only get established here, but continue growing (pursuant to) a long term strategy in Costa Rica.”

NDC will invest $3.5 million in operations in the country, and plans to hire 30 employees by the end of the year. The long-term goal is to employ 200 people, Llobet said.She added that CINDE hopes to attract 29 multinational businesses this year. She said that an early estimate is that around 5,000 jobs could be created in the medical devices, advanced manufacturing and service sectors. Twenty-one new operations moved to Costa Rica in 2009.

The Central Bank estimates $1.3 billion in foreign direct investment this year, with two sectors in particular dominating Costa Rica’s foreign investment landscape.

“We’re going to continue to see some medical device manufacturing companies and (companies) in the area of services as well,” Llobet said. “(Also) perhaps, in other areas as well. But I would pinpoint these two specific sectors as ones in which we have seen continuous growth in the past. And I believe we’ll see the same in 2010.”

–Matt Levin

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