San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican companies diversify exports to Chile

Chunky-style sauce, rambutan fruit, sugarless candy and even pet snacks are some of the new exports that Costa Rican producers will begin distributing in Chile in coming months.

During recent business trips organized by Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER), local companies signed contracts to sell their products in Chile. Among them, Productos Agropecuarios VISA will begin sending rambután starting in August. Chilean supermarket chains Tottus and Cencosud will begin distributing the spiky oval-shaped fruit there.

The Tico company had already made various shipments to South America, but company execs believe the fruit is still little known there. Commercial manager Erick Villalobos said the firm’s first shipments were very small but contracts signed during the business trip to Chile are signs of bigger opportunities.

In September, Alimentos Kamuk will begin exporting the first shipments of chunky-style sauces made with mixtures of tropical fruits and hot peppers. The sauce will also be distributed at Tottus supermarkets.

Lila Johnson, PROCOMER’s coordinator of Trade Promotion in Chile, said the strategy to diversify exports to that country is based on identifying suitable market niches and marketing channels for Tico products.

“Our current strategy has recently managed to attract Chilean buyers of mostly healthy, zero-calorie, gluten-free, organic and environmentally-friendly products from local companies, including Productos Agropecuarios VISA, Alimentos Kamuk, Central Veterinaria, Roma, Sweetwell, Grupo Zapata and Ampo,” Johnson said.

Chile is currently the fourth-largest buyer of Tico products in South America behind Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

In 2014 Costa Rica exported a total of $39 million to Chile. In the first five months of this year exporters sold $14 million, according to PROCOMER data.

Currently Costa Rican exports to Chile consist mainly of agricultural products, plastic containers and medical equipment components.

Contact L. Arias at

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Ken Morris

I far prefer to see this than I do Costa Rica’s pork producers asking for protectionist measures to be able to compete with Chile’s imported pork.

I’m far from a card-carrying supporter of free trade, but it is generally a good idea for people to find out what they do best and then sell those products to others, rather than asking the government to protect them while they try to compete on what they don’t do best.

Let’s hope the Tico exporters meet with success.

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