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Costa Rican Goods Exports Grow by 10% in Q1 of 2020

APRIL 28th 2020

*Article originally published by PROCOMER: 

•Service exports closed out a successful 2019 as well, at 5% more than in 2018.
•FDI was up by 13.4% in 2019 from 2018.  
 San Jose, April 23, 2020. Exports of Costa Rican goods started out the year on a positive note, growing by 10% at the end of the first quarter in 2020 compared to the first quarter of last year – that is, US$265 million more, reaching a total of US $3,052 million.

Service exports, for their part, closed out a successful 2019, reaching US $9,503 million – an increase of US $413 million, or 5% more than in 2018.

Added together, Costa Rican exports of goods and services in 2019 reached US $20,999 million, twice the amount exported in 2009, when shipments reached US$10,477 million.

For Dyalá Jiménez, foreign trade minister and president of the board of directors of PROCOMER (Costa Rica’s Exports Agency), these figures show that the country has a sound trade policy that has helped it find markets for Costa Rican goods and services in different parts of the world, as well as ample diversification, which has helped the export sector grow and innovate over time.

“Exports account for 34% of the country’s GDP, so we are happy knowing that we have started the year out strong in goods and that services performed so well last year. We know, however, that we are facing a global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and that this could affect these positive figures in the coming months. Far from letting down our guard, we are called upon to keep thinking of ways to survive the crisis. In the past, we have faced and overcome difficult situations, and for that, the foreign trade sector (COMEX, PROCOMER, and CINDE) is redoubling efforts to assist and support the companies we serve,” affirmed Jiménez.  

The minister reiterated that the diversification of goods and destinations is helping to mitigate the impact in this complex international setting.  

PROCOMER General Manager, Pedro Beirute, added that the institution has a firm commitment to helping the entire export sector to keep those numbers positive and reduce the impact caused by the crisis. “We have the tools that we are making available to the sector permanently, and now virtually, to deal with the emergency, and we have also created the Alivio (Relief) Program, which, together with strategic partners, is intended to provide support to export companies in these times of crisis. We must continue innovating and adapting to the circumstances,” he added.
Goods, First Quarter 2020

The 10% growth of goods in this period, compared to 2019, is the highest in the last five years.

The sectors contributing to this increase include medical and precision equipment, with a 23% increase in exports, followed by agriculture, with a recovery and growth of 4%, as well as the food industry (up 7%), pharmaceutical chemicals (up 4%), metal-mechanics (up 8%), and livestock and fisheries (up 7%), etc.

Among the most dynamic goods can be found medical devices (up to US$171 million), coffee (up to US$19 million), syrups for soft drinks (up to US$19 million), parts for electric magnitude measuring instruments (up to US $15 million), iron or steel bars (up to US $12 million), beef (up to US$12 million), bananas (up to US$11 million) and devices for use in stomas (up to US $5 million). 

All destination regions for Costa Rican exports also showed growth: Asia was up by US$39 million, North America by US$191 million, Europe by US$2 million, Central America by US$7 million, the Caribbean by US$8 million, and South America by US$15 million.

Services and FDI, 2019

At the 2019 close, service exports accounted for US$9,503 million, up 5% from 2018. Information technology, travel (tourism, health, and education), and sophisticated business services were highly dynamic in 2019, all recording more growth than the sector (5%). 

Other business services and information technology, information, and telecommunications, which together represent 49% of all services, grew by US$152 million and US $88 million, respectively. Travel (tourism, health, and education), for its part, had a growth of US $204 million and accounted for 42% of the service sector.

The foreign direct investment closed out 2019 with a total of US $2,536 million, 13.4% more than in 2018 – which is encouraging, considering the downward trend of FDI flows globally. It also reflects the confidence that multinational companies already installed in Costa Rica have for reinvesting in our country. 

“In the context of COVID-19, we continue to work together with the companies to ensure their business continuity, which in turn helps keep more than 120,000 people working for them in their jobs.  Together with COMEX and PROCOMER, we are visualizing areas of opportunity opening in this field with the recovery and reconstruction awaiting us in our country and the rest of the world,” noted Jorge Sequeira Picado, managing director of CINDE.

An extensive analysis of this data will be posted on .