You are here

Costa Rica

coasta rica flag

On August 5, 2004, the United States signed the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic (the Parties). Under the Agreement, the Parties significantly liberalizes trade in goods and services.

The CAFTA-DR also includes important disciplines relating to: customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, transparency and labor and environmental protection. 

The Agreement entered into force for the United States and El Salvador on March 1, 2006; for, Honduras and Nicaragua on Aril 1 2006; and for Guatemala on July 1, 2006. The CAFTA-DR entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007, and for Costa Rica on January 1, 2009. 

U.S.-Costa Rica Trade Facts 

In 2017, Costa Rica GDP was an estimated $58.1 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 3.2%; and the population was 5 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with Costa Rica totaled an estimated $15.2 billion in 2016 (latest data available). Exports were $8.0 billion; imports were $7.2 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Costa Rica was $770 million in 2016.

Costa Rica is currently our 44th largest goods trading partner with $10.7 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $6.2 billion; goods imports totaled $4.6 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.6 billion in 2016.

Trade in services with Costa Rica totaled an estimated $5.0 billion in 2016 (latest data available). Services exports totaled $2.1 billion; services imports totaled $2.9 billion. The U.S. services trade deficit with Costa Rica was $769 million in 2016.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of Goods and Services to Costa Rica supported an estimated 37 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (26 thousand supported by goods exports and 11 thousand supported by services exports).

Exports

  • Costa Rica was the United States' 38th largest goods export market in 2017.
  • U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2017 were $6.2 billion, up 5.1% ($300 million) from 2016 and up 34.7% from 2007. U.S. exports to Costa Rica are up 8.6% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: mineral fuels ($1.4 billion), electrical machinery ($830 million), machinery ($560 million), optical and medical instruments ($466 million), and plastics ($459 million).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Costa Rica totaled $707 million in 2017. Leading domestic export categories include: corn ($138 million), soybeans ($115 million), prepared food ($33 million), poultry meat & prods. (ex. eggs) ($31 million), and wheat ($29 million).
  • U.S. exports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $2.1 billion in 2016 13.0% ($243 million) more than 2015.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to Costa Rica were in the travel, transport, and intellectual property (computer software) sectors.

Imports

  • Costa Rica was the United States' 50th largest supplier of goods imports in 2017.
  • U.S. goods imports from Costa Rica totaled $4.6 billion in 2017, up 5.4% ($233 million) from 2016, and up 16% from 2007. U.S. imports from Costa Rica are up 15.9% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: optical and medical instruments ($1.9 billion), edible fruit & nuts (date, fug, pineapple)  ($1.0 billion), electrical machinery ($287 million), coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($147 million), and rubber ($144 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Costa Rica totaled $1.6 billion in 2017. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($564 million), bananas and plantains ($445 million), coffee, unroasted ($140 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($117 million), and fruit & vegetable juices ($78 million).
  • U.S. imports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $2.9 billion in 2016 11.6% ($299 million) more than 2015.  Leading services imports from Costa Rica to the U.S. were in the travel, professional 

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.6 billion in 2017, a 4.4% increase ($67 million) over 2016.
  • The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $769 million with Costa Rica in 2016 (latest data available), up 6.2% from 2015.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Costa Rica (stock) was $1.6 billion in 2017, a 16.2% increase from 2016. U.S. direct investment in Costa Rica is led by manufacturing, professional, scientific, and technical services, and mining.
  • No data on Costa Rica's FDI in the U.S. are available. There is no information on the distribution of Costa Rica FDI in the U.S.
  • Sales of services in Costa Rica by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $1.9 billion in 2015 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Costa Rica-owned firms were $50 million.