Is Costa Rica’s New Found Friendship with China a Good Idea?

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Costa Rica News – China is Costa Rica’s new best friend, so it seems, but is this good for Costa Rica? Apparently it depends on who you talk to.

Clearly, as you will see below, it has had positive economic benefits, but a recent survey of public opinion by CostaRicaNewsSite.com shows mixed feelings.

Here is synopsis of the survey from a selection of individuals across the status brackets. 48% of locals surveyed felt it was good for the economy. 36% said it is bad for Costa Rica in the long term and 16% said they are not sure yet.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and the Republic of China, June 2007, and the force of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Asian country, in August 2011, the economic ties and business between the two countries increased. As a result, China’s direct investment ballooned in Costa Rica, especially in trade and tourism.

In 2006, China’s direct investment in Costa Rica was approximately $400,000. In 2012, this reached $4.8 million.

“In terms of investment, we have been working on projects of interest to Costa Rica, one of them is the creation of a special economic zone in a region of lower development of our country. This initiative aims to attract Chinese investment to Costa Rica to carry out production processes with high added value,” saidForeign Trade Minister, Anabel González.

Gabriela Llobet, the general director of the Coalition for Development Initiatives (CINDE), explained that CINDE has participated in a series of promotional events and have attended business groups and officials from various Chinese provinces, with the intention showcase the opportunities here.

Costa Rican exports to China accounted for, in 2012, which is 3% of the total, and imports by 8%.
Exports have swings due in large part to sales of integrated electronic circuitry products, which represent 78% of the total.

The Foreign Trade Minister said the trade between Costa Rica and China has multiplied more than 10 times in the last decade.

The administration sees momentum continuing, with the Costa Rica Business Summit VII-China November 26th and 27th which will be held in San Jose, which hopes to create opportunity for American and Chinese businesses.

Tourism from China has almost quadrupled in the last six years and 6,500+ tourists entered China 2012, this is clear evidence of the growth trend.

Clearly there have been economic benefits of the China-Costa Rica partnership but whether these benefits trickle down to the general population and how, is yet to be seen. Costa Ricans in general feel that only the upper echelon of their society benefits from these international relationships as the average working class Tico struggles with rising cost of living expenses but still proportionally low wages.

Costa Rica News Site

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