Ex hierarch qualifies as an ‘error’ decision by the government to postpone entry to the Pacific Alliance. The cost of electricity, teaching English and the fiscal deficit are some of the main problems that make it difficult for Costa Rica to advance its competitiveness.
Other problems that tie the development of the country are the lag in infrastructure, not devalue the exchange rate and the Government’s decision to freeze the entry to the Pacific Alliance.
This was stated by the panelists at the fourth 20/20 Visionaries forum whose theme was Costa Rica before the new US administration. The event, which took place on Thursday night, was attended by Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, the United States ambassador to the country; Alberto Trejos, ex comarca of the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex); Jorge Sequeira, director of the Costa Rican Coalition for Development Initiatives (Cinde); And Jhon Fonseca, deputy minister of Comex. The discussion was led by Armando González, director of La Nación.
Visionarios 20/20 is an event organized by La Nación, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and the construction company H. Solís. The conversation took place Thursday night in the auditorium of the newspaper, in Llorente de Tibás.
Sequeira strongly criticized the high cost of electricity in Costa Rica. According to him, foreign companies installed in the country pay up to 3.5 times more for this energy compared to the United States and Mexico. Cinde’s director assured that by the legal limit to the private sector to invest in power generation, the country has lost investments of $ 500 million and up to $ 1 billion.
“We will have to take a real blow for the country to wake up,” Sequeira said. “All to protect ICE (Costa Rican Electricity Institute) and ICE unions, we continue to prevent the rest of the country from generating jobs.” For the Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade, the country must further boost the diversification of Costa Rica’s exports, as 40% of the sales of goods are made to the EE. UU.
The US ambassador himself said that expanding the range of the destination of sales abroad is key, as it will allow for prosperity. “I, as a businessman, if I had a client that would represent 50% of my income that would be a risk, no matter who is in the White House.” Concentration on a client is unhealthy for anyone, “Haney said.
The diplomat added that Costa Rica must reinforce the teaching of English to have a significant bilingual workforce. “Costa Rica is falling behind in competitiveness, Costa Rica should compare with Israel, Ireland, and Iceland, with those countries not with their neighbors,” Haney said.
“When I was 18 years old, the public debt was 170% of GDP (gross domestic product). On the day my last daughter was born, the debt was 27% of GDP, today she is 15 years old and that 27% went from 60 % of GDP “. Alberto Trejos, ex-minister of Comerio Exterior.
On the other hand, the foreign minister said that the serious fiscal situation leaves the country very badly against the rest of the American continent, with one of the highest public debts.
“Global financial uncertainties are much more difficult if we have a fiscal problem of its own. When I turned 18 the public debt was 170% of GDP. The day my last daughter was born the debt was 27% of GDP, Today she is 15 years old and that 27% happened to be 60% of GDP, “said Trejos.
The ex comarca of Comex was very critical of the position of the administration of Luis Guillermo Solís to stop the incorporation of the country to the Alliance of the Pacific.
“We are not talking about the potential for diversification by the markets involved in the Alliance, but because the natural path of the Pacific Alliance is one where the country will arrive at the time, but we will end up coming late,” he said. Said Trejos.
Jhon Fonseca, vice minister of Foreign Trade, said that the president decided to analyze in greater detail the process of incorporation given that there are many opportunities and threats. The official explained that to help the underprivileged players a support program is necessary, but without a budget is not possible.