San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican foreign direct investment on pace to break all-time high

Costa Rica is on track to reach an all-time high for foreign direct investment in 2011. According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica, through the first six months of the year, Costa Rica raked in $1.06 billion in foreign direct investment. The Foreign Trade Ministry under President Laura Chinchilla has set an investment goal of $1.85 billion for 2011, which would be a new national record.

“The arrival of investment has significantly contributed to the growth in the gross domestic product,” Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González said.

According to the Foreign Trade Ministry, 36 percent of the total foreign direct investment in the first half of the year was in the manufacturing sector, while the service sector accounted for 33 percent. Investment in free zones, which could be further taxed if the recently drafted fiscal reform passes in December, brought in 29 percent of the total foreign direct investment (see story on Page 8).

The largest foreign investment during the first six months of the year was made by technology giant IBM. On June 30, IBM announced an additional $300 million investment in Costa Rica. That investment is expected to create 1,000 new jobs (TT, July 1, 2011).

“We knew that we wanted to make an investment in Latin America and we … decided to make the next biggest investment here,” said Carl Ingersoll, general manager of IBM Costa Rica, in a July interview with The Tico Times. “There are a number of important competitive advantages here, and a lot of clients that come here to work with us are U.S. businesses” (TT, Aug. 5).

The goal for foreign investment revenue during Chinchilla’s administration is $9 billion. In 2010, investment exceeded $1.4 billion.

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