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 2019, Costa Rica GDP was an estimated $61.0 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 2.1%; and the population was 5 million. (Source: IMF)
U.S. goods and services trade with Costa Rica totaled an estimated $16.4 billion in 2019. Exports were $8.2 billion; imports were $8.2 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Costa Rica was $49 million in 2019.
Costa Rica is currently our 42nd largest goods trading partner with $11.4 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $6.2 billion; goods imports totaled $5.1 billion. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.1 billion in 2019.
Trade in services with Costa Rica (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $5.1 billion in 2019. Services exports were $2.0 billion; services imports were $3.1 billion. The U.S. services trade deficit with Costa Rica was $1.1 billion in 2019.
- Costa Rica was the United States' 38th largest goods export market in 2019.
- U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2019 were $6.2 billion, down 3.9% ($251 million) from 2018 but up 32.3% from 2009. U.S. exports to Costa Rica are up 9.5% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
- The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($1.4 billion), electrical machinery ($834 million), optical and medical instruments ($612 million), machinery ($533 million), and plastics ($480 million).
- U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Costa Rica totaled $730 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: corn ($145 million), soybeans ($92 million), prepared food ($42 million), processed vegetables ($30 million), and poultry meat & products (ex. eggs) ($30 million).
- U.S. exports of services to Costa Rica were an estimated $2.0 billion in 2019, 3.2% ($61 million) more than 2018, and 69.6% greater than 2009 levels. Leading services exports from the U.S. to Costa Rica were in the travel, transport, and intellectual property (industrial processes) sectors.
- Costa Rica was the United States' 47th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
- U.S. goods imports from Costa Rica totaled $5.1 billion in 2019, up 5.2% ($256 million) from 2018, but down 8.3% from 2009. U.S. imports from Costa Rica are up 30.7% from 2008 (pre-FTA).
- The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: optical and medical instruments ($2.3 billion), edible fruit & nuts (date, fig, pineapple) ($981 million), electrical machinery ($314 million), rubber ($185 million), and special other (returns) ($163 million).
- U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Costa Rica totaled $1.5 billion in 2019, our 22th largest supplier of agricultural imports. Leading categories include: other fresh fruit ($547 million), bananas and plantains ($391 million), unroasted coffee ($144 million), processed fruit & vegetables ($124 million), and fresh vegetables ($69 million).
- U.S. imports of services from Costa Rica were an estimated $3.1 billion in 2019, 5.2% ($171 million) less than 2018, but 118% greater than 2009 levels. Leading services imports from Costa Rica to the U.S. were in the travel, professional and management services, and technical and other services sectors.
- The U.S. goods trade surplus with Costa Rica was $1.1 billion in 2019, a 32.1% decrease ($507 million) over 2018.
- The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $1.1 billion with Costa Rica in 2019, down 17.1% from 2018.
- U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Costa Rica (stock) was $1.5 billion in 2019, a 4.8% decrease from 2018. 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.
- Sales of services in Costa Rica by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $1.9 billion in 2017 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Costa Rica-owned firms were $82 million.