Costa Rica's Economy
Costa Rica's economy has undergone a shift in the past 10-15 years. Where Costa Rica's economy has traditionally been based upon agriculture, it is currently split between tourism, electronics exports & agriculture.
In 1996 Intel, one of the world's technology leaders, made the decision to invest in Costa Rica because of the availability of a highly educated workforce. These days, Costa Rica is referred to as "the Silicon Valley of Central America" and Intel employs over 3,500 people in their plant in the Central Valley (San Jose metro area). All Intel Pentium Processing chips are manufactured in this plant. The export of technology products accounts for about 20% of exports.
The Costa Rican government has recognized the impact that foreign investment has made to their economy and continues to offer tax incentives to companies willing to invest in Costa Rica. As a result companies like Glaxo Smith Kline and Proctor & Gamble have opened operations in Costa Rica. In January of 2009, CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented allowing open trade between Costa Rica and the US. CAFTA also helps remove government monopolies, promoting market transparency and opening Costa Rica up to international service providers. Moving forward, this will have a big impact on cellular, internet and cable services as well as insurance.
Costa Rica started to see tourism increase in the 90s, when its economic benefit to the country exceeded that of agriculture. Due to the popularity of eco-tourism, Costa Rican tourism has continued to increase to a record high number of visitors.