Promotion of foreign direct investment outside the Greater Metropolitan in Costa Rica is a priority for Cinde
Contact the Central American Group to establish a nearshore manufacturing operation in the Green Park Free Zone in the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica
Taking Foreign Direct Investment in Costa Rica (FDI) outside the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica (GAM) will be a high priority of the Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives, known by its Spanish language acronym Cinde, for the remainder of 2023. This was recently expressed by Jorge Sequeira, director of the internationally recognized investment promotion agency in Costa Rica.
Foreign direct investment in Costa Rica is concentrated in the GAM
What is referred to as the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica (GAM) consists of the country’s main areas of urban concentration. It includes the cities of San José, Cartago, Heredia, and Alajuela. Alajuela is the location of The Central American Group’s Green Park Free Zone.
Beyond the GAM, however, Cinde’s leadership recently reported that in 2022, 900 jobs were created in towns that lie outside of these communities. Ten new investments were executed in the life sciences, services, manufacturing, and tourism infrastructure sectors. Forty-nine percent of the population is outside the country’s Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica.
The above-mentioned foreign direct investment in Costa Rica was made in the districts of Liberia and Santa Cruz, in the province of Guanacaste; Cóbano (Puntarenas), Orotina, San Carlos, and Grecia (Alajuela) and Pérez Zeledón (San José, on the Pacific Coast).
Among the free zones located outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica are:
Zona Franca Global Park: Located in the province of Alajuela, this free zone offers a wide range of services, including logistics, manufacturing, and technology.
Zona Franca America: Located in the province of Heredia, this free zone is dedicated to technology and innovation, with a focus on software development.
Zona Franca Solarium: Located in the province of Guanacaste, this free zone is focused on environmentally sustainable businesses, including renewable energy and ecotourism.
Zona Franca Metro: Located in the province of Cartago, this free zone offers a range of services, including manufacturing, logistics, and call centers.
Incentives are available to investors locating facilities outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica
Companies located in one of the free zones outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica are subject to less bureaucratic red tape. Additionally, they can enjoy certain tax benefits, worker training programs, and a lower cost structure.
Sequeira stated that, through a recent survey by Cinde, it had been found that another 5,000 virtual jobs were generated outside the GAM prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. He added that the companies making foreign direct investment in Costa Rica decide where to invest. We do not tell them where to be. They are the ones that settle where they find the appropriate, correct, and optimal conditions for their operation.”
He recognized that in Costa Rica, for decades, there has been a desire to extend job creation to regions outside the GAM and that, over time, infrastructure has been put into place to guarantee the communities’ competitiveness. Among the issues that he cited that needed to be addressed to motivate new foreign direct investment in Costa Rica outside the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica include increased connectivity, more electricity infrastructure, increased workforce training, and the availability of business parks.
“It is a task for the country in which many institutions, government ministries, and business chambers must participate; it is everyone’s task,” Sequeira pointed out.
The priority for 2023 for foreign direct investment in Costa Rica
For his part, Eric Scharf, president of Cinde’s board of directors, said that strategic goals have been established for the next four years.
“Priority number one, Cinde’s number one strategic goal as of 2023, is the attraction of foreign direct investment outside the Greater Metropolitan Area,” he assured.
The main other organizational priorities aimed at increasing foreign investment in Costa Rica outside the GAM are training human resources in STEAM areas (These include English for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and multilingualism. This goal is in addition to expanding the investment portfolio in agriculture, agrotechnology, adventure parks, and human health.
Scharf presented the results of foreign investment for 2022, which reached an estimated figure of $3.5 billion. He argued that the Law for Strengthening Territorial Competitiveness, which came into force in May 2022 that created incentives to attract investment outside the GAM, encourages the promotion of the aforementioned new sectors.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Manuel Tovar, indicated that with the approval of the Film Investment Attraction Law, there is an incentive for FDI in this sector to go outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica.
“We are about to regulate this Law because it is also related to areas outside the Greater Metropolitan Area. I am a resident of Curridabat. It is very a very beautiful community, but, to date, I do not see a reality show or a movie being filmed there. These projects are coming,” he said.
The aforementioned Law aimed at attracting more foreign direct investment in Costa Rica was approved in October 2021 and published in the periodical La Gaceta on December 13 of the same year.
Source: La Nacion
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