Costa Rica Industry

Costa Rica is the most industrialized country in Central America. High-tech manufacturing of medical equipment and electronic components accounts for a large proportion of industrial production.

The manufacturing industry is largely located in free zones for export, where companies that produce for the export market can import raw materials and equipment duty-free. The zones are scattered throughout the country, several of them adjacent to ports or at the largest airport outside Alajuela. The favorable conditions have attracted foreign investors. In the free trade zones there are now over 400 companies which account for about half of the exports.

Previously, the electronics industry dominated, with microprocessors being the single largest product. Gradually, however, mainly medical equipment and also food processing became more important. Paper industry also exists. The formerly important textile industry has lost competitiveness not least to China.

The industry, including construction and mining, employs a fifth of the workforce and contributes a quarter of GDP.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Costa Rica. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

Costa Rica



13 candidates for the 2018 presidential election

October 4th

The commencement committee will run for the presidential and parliamentary elections on February 4, 2018. The leading candidates in the presidential election are Antonio Álvarez Desanti of the National Liberation Party (PLN), Juan Diego Castro of the National Integration Party (PIN) and Rodolfo Piza of the Christian Social Unity Party (Pusc). Other candidates are Carlos Alvarado from the now ruling Citizens’ Action (PAC) and Edgardo Araya from the left-wing Breda Front (FA). None of the candidates can count on any strong parliamentary support, since neither party can expect to win their own majority in the legislative assembly. One of the new government’s biggest problems is getting the country’s finances organized. The budget deficit landed at over 5 percent in 2016, and central government debt has risen rapidly in recent years.


Ministers resign before presidential election

Minister of Economy and Commerce Welmer Ramos leaves his post just before the deadline for ministers who want to be able to stand in the February 2018 presidential election..


The border dispute with Nicaragua continues

January 16

The conflict with Nicaragua is intensified again when the government decides to draw the neighboring country before the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) to decide what the neighboring country will pay in compensation for material damage (see December 2015).



Many record murders

December 30

Concern is mounting for rising crime, linked to the drug trade. A new report confirms that the homicide rate reaches a peak level in 2016, when more than 570 homicides occurred.

Increased migrant flows through the country

December 19

The government reports that the number of migrants passing through Costa Rica is “unparalleled” – it affects over 26,000 people during the year. The majority come from Cuba, Haiti and countries in Africa.


Security assistance from the United States

22 August

President Solís meets his counterpart Barack Obama in Washington and receives an “unparalleled” pledge of assistance, including aircraft, fast boats, biometric equipment and communications equipment. The parties sign a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the fight against organized crime, migration and civil security.

Infinite confidence in the president

August 16th

Just over halfway into the term, only 10 percent of voters think President Luis Guillermo Solís is doing a good job. It is the lowest figure for any head of state in the country ever measured.

Concern over migrant inflows

10th August

The government sees with concern when Panama decides to admit about 800 migrants stuck at the border with Colombia, for humanitarian reasons. The migrants, mainly from Haiti and African countries, want to continue north. But at the Costa Rican border in the north, there are already about 2,500 migrants, as Nicaragua continues to impede passage through the country (see November and December 2015).


Re-entry into co-operative bodies

June 30th

Costa Rica resumes in Sica after half a year outside regional cooperation (see December 2015). All other members except Nicaragua welcome Costa Rica’s re-entry.


Secret airfields discovered

April 13

According to authorities, 33 previously unknown airfields were counted in November, along the Pacific coast where drug smuggling has increased recently. Several are located in areas that are completely empty of people. Over the past week, police seized over a ton of cocaine in several incidents. On three occasions, small aircraft have been involved in accidents.

Regional Security Summit

April 6

Costa Rica, together with the US military, is hosting a security meeting in San José, attended by representatives of 13 countries on the American continents. Threats to security have come in the limelight in Costa Rica where the number of murders has risen sharply in a short time.


PLN victor in municipal elections

February 7

The PLN wins big and takes home the mayor’s post in well over half of the 81 municipalities, although the party backs compared to the 2010 election. regional party Alliance of San José.

Costa Rica Industry

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