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Costa Rica

coasta rica flagOn 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 

Costa Rica is currently our 41st largest goods trading partner with $11 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2015. Goods exports totaled $6.1 billion; goods imports totaled $4.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.7 billion in 2015.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods to Costa Rica supported an estimated 27 thousand jobs in 2014 (latest data available).


  • Costa Rica was the United States' 38th largest goods export market in 2015.
  • U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2015 were $6.1 billion, down 12% ($814 million) from 2014 but up 71% from 2005. U.S. exports to Costa Rica are up 8.3% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: mineral fuels ($1.3 billion), electrical machinery ($869 million), machinery ($586 million), plastics ($446 million), and optical and medical instruments ($403 million).
  • U.S. exports of agricultural products to Costa Rica totaled $669 million in 2015, our 36th largest agricultural export market. Leading categories include: corn ($114 million), soybeans ($107 million), wheat ($38 million), rice ($32 million), and prepared food ($29 million).


  • Costa Rica was the United States' 47th largest supplier of goods imports in 2015.
  • U.S. goods imports from Costa Rica totaled $4.5 billion in 2015, down 53% ($5.0 billion) from 2014, but up 31% from 2005. U.S. imports from Costa Rica are up 13.5% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: optical and medical instruments ($1.5 billion), edible fruit & nuts (pineapples, bananas) ($892 million), electrical machinery ($667 million), special other (returns) ($196 million), and coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($175 million).
  • U.S. imports of agricultural products from Costa Rica totaled $1.5 billion in 2015, our 26th largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($522 million), bananas and plantains ($325 million), coffee, unroasted ($168 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($117 million), and fresh vegetables ($71 million).

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. trade balance with Costa Rica shifted from a goods trade deficit of $2.5 billion in 2014 to a goods trade surplus of $1.7 billion in 2015.


  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Costa Rica (stock) was $955 million in 2014 (latest data available), a 4.3% decrease from 2013. 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 $1.5 billion in 2013 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Costa Rica-owned firms were $63 million.

NOTE: No services trade data with Costa Rica are available.