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Costa Rica

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 2018, Costa Rica GDP was an estimated $59.0 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 2.7%; and the population was 5 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with Costa Rica totaled an estimated $15.5 billion in 2017 (latest data available). Exports were $8.2 billion; imports were $7.4 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Costa Rica was $800 million in 2017.

Costa Rica is currently our 45th largest goods trading partner with $11.2 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $6.3 billion; goods imports totaled $4.9 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.5 billion in 2018.

Trade in services with Costa Rica (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $4.8 billion in 2017 (latest data available). Services exports were $2.0 billion; services imports were $2.8 billion. The U.S. services trade deficit with Costa Rica was $806 million in 2017 (latest data available).

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 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2018 were $6.3 billion, up 2.9% ($176 million) from 2017 and up 11.7% from 2008. U.S. exports to Costa Rica are up 11.7% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
     
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: mineral fuels ($1.5 billion), electrical machinery ($831 million), optical and medical instruments ($560 million), machinery ($544 million), and plastics ($471 million).
     
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Costa Rica totaled $746 million in 2018. Leading domestic export categories include: corn ($149 million), soybeans ($102 million), soybean meal ($40 million), prepared food ($35 million), and processed vegetables ($30 million).
     
  • U.S. exports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $2.0 billion in 2017 (latest data available), 5.7% ($120 million) less than 2016, but 66.4% greater than 2007 levels.  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' 49th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018.
     
  • U.S. goods imports from Costa Rica totaled $4.9 billion in 2018, up 6.9% ($315 million) from 2017, and up 24% from 2008. U.S. imports from Costa Rica are up 23.9% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
     
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2018 were: optical and medical instruments ($2.1 billion), edible fruit & nuts (date, fig, pineapple)  ($1.0 billion), electrical machinery ($313 million), rubber ($179 million), and coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($172 million).
     
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Costa Rica totaled $1.6 billion in 2018. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($566 million), bananas and plantains ($403 million), coffee, unroasted ($165 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($121 million), and fruit & vegetable juices ($76 million).
     
  • U.S. imports of services from Costa Rica were an estimated $2.8 billion in 2017 (latest data available), 1.2% ($34 million) less than 2016, but 88.3% greater than 2007 levels.  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 $1.5 billion in 2018, a 8.7% decrease ($139 million) over 2017.
     
  • The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $806 million with Costa Rica in 2017 (latest data available), up 11.9% from 2016.

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 2016 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Costa Rica-owned firms were $83 million.