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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 2016, Costa Rica GDP was an estimated $57.7 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 4.3%; and the population was 5 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with Costa Rica totaled an estimated $14.9 billion in 2015 (latest data available). Exports were $7.9 billion; imports were $7.1 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Costa Rica was $771 million in 2015.

Costa Rica is currently our 40th largest goods trading partner with $10.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $5.9 billion; goods imports totaled $4.3 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 $4.4 billion in 2015 (latest data available). Services exports totaled $1.8 billion; services imports totaled $2.6 billion. The U.S. services trade deficit with Costa Rica was $820 million in 2015.

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' 37th largest goods export market in 2016. 
  • U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2016 were $5.9 billion, down 3.0% ($182 million) from 2015 but up 42.7% from 2006. U.S. exports to Costa Rica are up 3.8% from 2008 (pre-FTA). 
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: mineral fuels ($1.2 billion), electrical machinery ($905 million), machinery ($598 million), plastics ($464 million), and optical and medical instruments ($446 million). 
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Costa Rica totaled $711 million in 2016. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($122 million), corn ($114 million), wheat ($36 million), rice ($35 million), and prepared food ($35 million). 
  • U.S. exports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $1.8 billion in 2015 (latest data available), 1.2% ($21 million) more than 2014.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to Costa Rica were in the transport, travel, and intellectual property (computer software) sectors.

Imports

  • Costa Rica was the United States' 49th largest supplier of goods imports in 2016. 
  • U.S. goods imports from Costa Rica totaled $4.3 billion in 2016, down 3.5% ($156 million) from 2015, but up 12.7% from 2006. U.S. imports from Costa Rica are up 10.0% from 2008 (pre-FTA). 
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: optical and medical instruments ($1.7 billion), edible fruit & nuts (pineapples, bananas)  ($981 million), electrical machinery ($369 million), coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($182 million), and preserved food (orange juice, pineapple juice) ($142 million). 
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Costa Rica totaled $1.6 billion in 2016, our 25th largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($556 million), bananas and plantains ($387 million), coffee, unroasted ($176 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($117 million), and fruit & vegetable juices ($93 million). 
  • U.S. imports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $2.6 billion in 2015 12.6% ($290 million) more than 2014.  Leading services imports from Costa Rica to the U.S. were in the travel, professional and management services, and telecommunications, computer, and information services sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.6 billion in 2016, a 1.7% decrease ($26 million) over 2015. 
  • The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $820 million with Costa Rica in 2015 (latest data available), down 48.8% from 2014.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Costa Rica (stock) was $1.5 billion in 2015 (latest data available), a 1.6% increase from 2014. U.S. direct investment in Costa Rica is led by manufacturing, prof., scientific, and tech. services, and information. 
  • No data on Costa Rica's FDI in the U.S. are available. 
  • Sales of services in Costa Rica by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $1.6 billion in 2014 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Costa Rica-owned firms were $63 million.