Costa Rica’s exports of goods last year totaled $11.2 billion, representing a 2.4 percent decrease compared to the $11.5 billion registered in 2013, the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) reported.
Foreign trade officials attributed the drop in sales to the closure of Intel’s manufacturing plant, as the company’s microprocessors represented some 15 percent of the country’s total exports.
The decline was cushioned by a jump in sales in the medical devices sector, which grew from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $1.8 billion last year, according to PROCOMER.
According to the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), 63 companies operate in this country’s medical supply sector. Last year, Costa Rica attracted nine new investment projects in that sector, which currently employs 19,000 people, according to CINDE.
Exports from the agricultural sector also helped boost the final figures, totaling $2.5 billion last year. That is a 2.6 percent increase over the $2.4 billion registered in 2013.
Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora on Tuesday said that despite Intel’s downsizing of local operations, Costa Rica surpassed its export goal for 2014, set by the government at $10.8 billion.
“Surpassing the exports goal, even with a challenging economic environment and a profound change in the composition of our exports, demonstrates the strength of our production and exports sectors,” Mora said.
The minister also highlighted the “steady growth” of 9.1 percent in exports to the countries of the Pacific Alliance – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – a trade bloc Costa Rica hopes to join in coming months.