Recent Foreign Investment in Costa Rica

Foreign Investment in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been a common location for large multi-national corporations to find highly-educated, reliable employees. Recently, Cargill and IBM each opened up new facilities in the San Jose metro area increasing the foreign investment in Costa Rica in 2014.

Cargill to open Business Services Center in Costa Rica

Cargill, based in Minnesota, USA, is opening business services center that will provide technical support to the
Cargill foreign investment in costa ricagroup’s 50 companies in the Americas in areas such as finance, information technologies, human resources, transportation and logistics. Costa Rica was chosen by Cargill over other
locations in Argentina, Columbia, Panama and Mexico.

Cargill will hire staff with expertise in accounting, business administration, information technology and finance. Potential employees must be fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Cargill also spoke with representatives from other Fortune 500 companies that have operations in the co
untry, such as WalMart, Procter & Gamble and Citibank.

“Cargill conducted research and chose Costa Rica because it is the most effective and engaging location for us,” Cargill Central America President Bruce Burdett told El Financiero in an interview. “The final decision was based on the country’s political and economic situation, and the availability of a highly trained workforce with good levels of foreign languages.”

Cargill in 2011 acquired Costa Rica’s popular meat and poultry producer Pipasa Corporation and also represents animal food brands including Purina, Ascan, Mimados and Don Gato. This continued foreign investment in Costa Rica will increase their presence here in the country. 

Founded in 1865, Cargill has 143,000 employees in 67 countries. It is a producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. 

Sources: http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/05/06/cargill-chooses-costa-rica-for-new-services-center

IBM Opens IT Security Operations Center in Costa Rica

IBM Logo Costa Rica

IBM celebrated its 10 year anniversary in Costa Rica with the opening of its latest Security Operations Center (SOC). Through an initial investment that includes infrastructure and education, the center will allow IBM to address the growing security needs of its clients in the region.

“We would like to thank IBM for its confidence to reinvest in an operation that will create more quality jobs for its citizens,” said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis. “The announcement of a new IBM Security Operations Center reinforces the international image that Costa Rica is a strategic target for high-tech investments and is evidence of the commitment made since the first day of this government to dedicate ourselves to proactively executing a directive in favor of new, quality jobs—the main objective of our visit to the United States.  This is a tribute to the quality of human talent in the region.”

With this new center, the first in Costa Rica, IBM adds to the existing services offered in the country including cloud , business analytics , project management, human resources, financial services and more. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the security center of operations team will monitor the latest security events experienced by IBM clients, assess their potential impact on the business and ensure that IBM clients’ infrastructure is configured to handle the latest threats. As a result of this analysis, IBM will help to protect people, data, applications, transactions and the infrastructure for all businesses in the region.
“Companies like IBM clearly demonstrate the evolution that the services industry is undergoing in Costa Rica as companies here move forward to manage more complex and sophisticated processes,” said the Minister of Foreign Trade, Alexander Mora. “This progress is made possible by the talent and skills of our country’s workforce. We are succeeding in creating new world linkages and providing more value that will help us bring more Costa Rican companies into the dynamics of world trade.”

Sources: http://costaricarealestateblogs.blogspot.com/2014/07/ibm-opens-it-security-operations-center.html

Mr Halverson Goes to San Jose to Visit the Costa Rica Congress

Last week my project manager, Hanz Cruz, and I spent an afternoon in San Jose where we

Hanz Cruz Rosibel Madrigal Halverosn

Las Villas de San Buenas Project Manager Hanz Cruz, and CEO Nick Halverson meet with Deputada Rosibel Ramos Madrigal at the Costa Rica Congress.

visited the Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa), Costa Rica’s Congressional body.  Costa Rica has an unicameral legislative structure (a single chamber. By way of comparison the USA has two – the House of Representatives and the Senate). A member of Congress is called a Deputado (Deputada if a woman) – which translates to ‘Senator’.

Costa Rica has 57 Deputados, who are all elected every four years. Deputados do not have term limits, although they cannot serve consecutive terms. Once a Deputado’s four-year term expires, they must sit out an entire four-year election cycle before they can serve again.

We spent approximately one hour talking with a couple of Deputados. We first met with Deputada Rosibel Madrigal, who represents the region including San Isidro del General/Perez Zeledon areas of San Jose province. Next we met with Gerardo Vargas Rojas who represents the province of Puntarenas.

We discussed tourism, increasing foreign investment and I pushed to know more about the possible international airport in Osa (still being reviewed).

I have always found it beneficial during my career in New Zealand and Australia to meet face-to-face

Costa Rica Asamblea Nacional

Founding members of Costa Rica’s first Congress in 1949 (photo by Nick Halverson with Google Glass)

with government officials to ensure they are aware of our project as well as we are kept abreast of any potential changes. We will continue to meet with officials quarterly.

It was an enjoyable day and everyone we met with was friendly and hospitable. I’ll keep everyone updated on our future visits – and the Southern zone international airport.

Nick Halverson
CEO, Las Villas de San Buenas

Costa Rica Information

We often times get asked many of the same questions about Costa Rica. The following is general Costa Rica information that you may be interested in knowing.

Capital: San Jose

Currency: Colon

Time zone: GMT-6; EST -1. Costa Rica does not participate in Daylight Savings, so for approximately six months a year it is in the Central Time Zone and for the other approximate half of the year it is in Mountain Time zone. The lack of extreme time zone differences make Costa Rica an easy place to fly to (with little to no jet lag) and makes it easier to conduct business.

Country telephone code: 506 (when calling to Costa Rica from the USA or Canada, dial ‘011-506-xxxx-xxxx”. All Costa Rica phone numbers are eight digits in length (not including the country code)

Borders: Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southwest, Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Land Area: 51,100 square kilometers/19,730 square miles (about the size of West Virginia in the USA)

Maximum Length: 464 km/288 miles from the Sapoa River to Burica Point

Minimum Length: 119 km/74 miles from Tuba to Boca del Colorado

Maximum Width: 259 km/161 miles from Santa Elena to the mouth of the Colorado River

Tallest Mountain: Mount Chirripo. 3,820 meters/12,533 feet above sea level

National Flower: Guaria Morada orchid (guarianthe skinneri)

National Tree: Earpod tree (enterolobium cyclocarpurri)

National Bird: Clay-colored robin (turdus grayil)

Population: 4.3 million (approximately 51% men and 49% women)

Administrative Division: 7 provinces, 81 cantons and 463 districts

2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica

Costa Rica, Real Estate, News, Travel: 2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica.

2012 New International Airport in Southern Osa Costa Rica

 

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the new international airport in the southern zone of Costa Rica.  This has been going on since I first visited in March 2005 when the broker we used to purchase what is now Osa Mountain Village alluded to a new airport. It is one of the most talked about issues when dealing with prospective real estate clients. As a rule, I don’t bring up the airport unless a client specifically asks about it. I believe that the Osa region is absolutely gorgeous and amazing the way it currently is (beaches, wildlife, ziplines, etc) – any purchasing or not because of an airport doesn’t understand what Osa is about. Having said that, if the new airport is approved, and when the “Golden Shovel” ceremony takes place to break ground, I would guess prices for land will go up at least 20% overnight. This will be a real ‘game-changer’ in terms of development in Osa.

Here’s an update from Costa Rica’s business newspaper, El Financiero, translation by Google. It states that ICAO (Government Aviation Agency) will be accepting bids on a final environmental impact study in April 2012 for the $60 million project. The studies are to be completed by the end of this year. Once that is completed it will be a “Go or no-go” decision. The great news is that all of us will know within nine months what will happen in regards to the airport.

The runway being proposed in Southern
Costa Rica will be able to accommodate
an Airbus 320 with approximately
150 passengers.

The runway will be large enough to land an Airbus A320 which can fly between 1,700-6,500 nautical miles, depending on the model and carry approximately 150 passengers. With that range, most cities from North America (Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles) will be able to fly direct to the new proposed airport. This will be a great benefit for those traveling to Osa. Currently travelers must usually take a day on the front end of a trip and a day on the back end of a trip to ensure they are in San Jose on time (3.5 hour drive from Palmar Sur).

I wanted to share with everyone what I’ve heard over the years so you can understand my opinion.  Below is a brief, and probably not entire recap, of the rumors and information I’ve heard/gathered through the years:

President Arias signing airport
declaration in 2008 in Palmar Norte

 

  • March 2006: Tico Times article announcing the airport
  • In mid-2008, then-President Oscar Arias announced in a ceremony in Palmar Norte that the airport was moving forward.
  • After the October 2008 TLC/CAFTA vote took place, and it showed that Osa as whole voted against TLC, it is rumored President Arias (who was in favor the measure that passed) withheld his support of the airport and instead shifted his focus to helping those who helped him get TLC passed. Therefore, he worked to help secure the financing and permits for the Limon port expansion.
  • July 2009, Panamanian President Martinelli and Costa Rica President Oscar write a press release stating the airport project is back on. Read here
  • In early 2010, President Arias scrambles to complete major infrastructure projects so he can get credit for them (which was great because projects did indeed get done, including the Costanera Highway paving project. Here’s a video of that soon after it was completed near Dominical)
  • 2010: Peninsula Sur newspaper writes an article about the airport
  • August 2010: New Palmar Sur terminal opens 
  • 2010: Rumors begin spreading that the existing Palmar Sur location will be used and the runway lengthened to accommodate larger planes.
  • In November 2010, Tropical Storm Tomas (see photo) hits Costa Rica causing over $150 million worth of damage in Osa. Funds that were reportedly set aside for infrastructure improvements for the airport are now used to fix the Pan-American and Costanera Highway.

A new airport will obviously bring many changes – some good – some not. The government is keenly aware of the pitfalls of what happened in Guanacaste and, previously, in the Jaco region of development (over development, unenforced laws, etc), and will be working closely to ensure the environment is impacted as minimally as possible.

As with most major infrastructure projects, this project has taken time – more than originally thought – however, I do believe we will see the airport project approved and ground to be broken in the next couple of years. Let’s all see what happens. I’ll keep you updated as I hear anything.

Pura vida!
Nick Halverson
Owner/developer of Las Villas de San Buenas

https://twitter.com/#!/costaricanick

Costa Rica Tourism Up 9 percent in 2010 vs 2009

According to the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), revenues from tourism accounted for

Costa Rica Tourism is up 9% in 2010

6.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 and over 7 percent in 2007 and 2008. In the last three years, earnings from tourism have averaged around $2 billion.

Through September of this year, the ICT reports that an estimated 1.6 million people have visited Costa Rica in 2010, a 9 percent increase over the same period in 2009.

Costa Rica’s Southern International Airport Update

Original: www.amcostarica.com


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International flights will be coming to the Southern zone. Exact time is unkown.

The project to build an international airport in the southern zone got a boost over the weekend when President Laura Chinchilla declared the concept to be in the public interest.

That technical designation put a high priority on the $35 million project, which will start in 2012 to put in the bare bones of an international airport. Until then there are more studies and surveys.

Significant planning and environmental work already has been done. For example, officials can say with certainty that the land proposed for the airport does not contain any of the famous pre-Columbian stone spheres of other important sites. An archaeological survey already has been completed.

According to plans reviewed Saturday, the airport will have a runway from 2,000 to 2,600 meters, some 6,560 to 8,530 feet. The site already has been selected. It is fincas 9 and 10 in the Valle de Diquis in Sierpe de Osa. Officials also plan on getting two adjacent fincas for eventual expansion.

Finca 9 is the property of the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo, a public agency. It contains 233 hectares (about 576 acres). Finca 10 contains 261 hectares (645 acres). This is enough land for the runway, ramps, taxiways, a passenger terminal, parking and space for a fixed base operator to handle private aviation. Also needed will be a fire station, a control tower, navigation and landing systems and space for customs and immigration.

The money for this project will come from the Dirección General de Aviación Civil, the national budget and an allocation the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes received from the International Civil Aviation Organization, officials said.

Ms. Chinchilla said that the airport is important to generate employment and combat poverty. Real estate operators and tourism agencies are solidly in favor of the project.

Ms. Chinchilla made a tour of the southern zone over the weekend and attended a meeting of the Golfito municipal council. There central government officials agreed to help the city with its tourism promotion.

————–

NOTE: When the project is complete, owners in The Village of San Buenas will only be 30 minutes from their home.  Now is a great time to purchase.

This is the first official update regarding the international airport since former President Oscar Arias discussed it in July 2009.


Costa Rica’s Exports Up 9 Percent

Costa Rica’s Exports Up 9 Percent / Daily News / News / Costa Rica Newspaper, The Tico Times.

The Foreign Trade Promotion Office (Procomer) announced Wednesday that Costa Rica’s exports have increased 9 percent this year when compared to the first nine months of 2009. From Jan. through Sept. of this year, the country has raked in over $7 billion in sales, compared to $6.5 billion at this point last year.

Procomer reports that 75 percent of all exports are industrial products, 23 percent agricultural products and 2.4 percent fish and livestock. Industrial exports accounted for $205 million more in 2010 than last year, boosted primarily by a 96 percent increase in the export of electric cables and a 36 percent increase in both tires and electrical switches and breakers. Microprocessors and other electric components continue to bring in the largest amounts of revenue, accounting for over $1.4 billion in sales so far this year.

Regarding food and agricultural products, the export of bananas, pineapples and coffee – historically among Costa Rica’s leading exports – all improved, led by a 23 percent increase in the shipping of bananas. In addition to these principal exports, sugar sales abroad have increased a whopping 217 percent, jumping from $23 million in 2009 to $74 million this year.

The majority of Costa Rican exports (41 percent) in 2010 were shipped to the United States, while 12.4 percent have gone to the European Union. Since 2008, exports to the EU have increased 5.9 percent.

 

Qatar to Open Embassy in San José, Costa Rica Newspaper, The Tico Times

The oil-rich nation of Qatar, which boasts one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, has announced plans to open an embassy in San José, Costa Rica.

Flag of Qatar

The embassy would be Qatar’s only diplomatic office on the Central American isthmus and one of five in the Americas. It would also be the only Arab embassy in Costa Rica.

Qatar to Open Embassy in San José / Daily News / News / Costa Rica Newspaper, The Tico Times.

Costa Rica Consumer Prices Dip

Source: www.TicoTimes.net

Costa Rica’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reports that prices fell an average of 0.08 percent during the month of September, the first month this year that consumer prices have decreased. Despite the slight deflation, through the first nine months of the year, average consumer prices have risen 3.87 percent, about a full percentage point higher than during the same period of 2009, when inflation was 2.92 percent.

The CPI, which is calculated by the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC), measures the monthly price variation of 292 national goods and services in 12 categories. In September, average consumer prices fell for food and non-alcoholic drinks, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes, transportation, communication, and entertainment and culture. Prices experienced their largest increases in the areas of rent and living expenses, health, and diverse goods and services.

The largest percentage price decreases were seen in the cost of onions, tomatoes, eggs, gasoline, and automobiles. The largest percentage price increases were seen in the cost of cilantro, potatoes, bread, and domestic help.

From 2000-2008, Costa Rica’s inflation rate hovered around the 10 percent mark, reaching a high of 13.9 percent in 2008. After closing 2009 with a 4.05 percent inflation rate, the lowest recorded figure since 1971, Central Bank President Rodrigo Bolaños has stated on several occasions that the bank aims to keep the increase in consumer prices between 4 to 6 percent in 2010.

“The principal goal (of the Central Bank) is to keep inflation at a low level,” Bolaños told The Tico Times in August. “We have the inflation rate down to around where we’d like it to be, but it hasn’t been at that level for very long. The challenge of the Central Bank will be to maintain it. As the inflation rate stays low, the economy reacts with higher demand.”

From October 2009 through September 2010, consumer prices have risen 5 percent.