The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Strengthening the international image and recovering 20.6% of total exports will be the new challenge of Costa Rica after the reduction of Intel operations in Costa Rica.

After the announcement by Intel on Tuesday on closing its microprocessor manufacturing, Costa Rica now must assume the task of strengthening international confidence.

Since 1997 Intel manufactured microprocessors whose total sales abroad in 2012 reached $22 billion, equivalent to 19.6% of total exports of the country.

In 2013, the figure increased to $22 billion, which means 20.6% of total exports for that year.

Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister, Anabel González, has been positive and has ensured that these exports will be partially offset by other companies, as the sector of life sciences and medical devices, however, it is not an immediate process.

For the president of the Coalition for Development Initiatives (Cinde), Joseph Rossi, the future looks “optimistic.”

“Although we had a high dependence, today these are still significant numbers, but this is not an economy that revolves around Intel. With the growth of other established companies, we remain firm and robust, we see the future with optimism,” he told reporters.

The government has assured that the decision of the company is given in the context of global restructuring to compete with other markets and not because of a specific situation in Costa Rica.

Rossi explained, that internationally one must understand that there is “nothing hidden” with the release of Intel.

“What is important is that there is no hidden agenda, no case is not revealed, no untold story, nothing is hidden, there is only the reality of things,” insisted Rossi.

Intel’s strategy is to concentrate its manufacturing operations in Asian countries, because in that area of ​​the world they have their biggest market.

Cinde data indicates that Costa Rica is well positioned in the region compared to other countries.

For example, according to figures from 2011, service exports as percentage of total exports of the country, Chile has 13%, Colombia 8%, Argentina 14%, Brazil 13% and Peru 9%, while the Central American country in 2012 makes up 33%.

In addition, exports of precision and medical equipment have grown twice as fast as other export processing zones.

According to Cinde, average growth was 6.6% per year from 2003 to 2013.

“Exports of medical and precision equipment are now the second largest export and by 2015 they will be the main export in Costa Rica,” said the general director of Cinde, Gabriela Llobet.

She added: “I say it without affecting exports of Intel microprocessors, which means, we already had planned, regardless if this had not happened (Partial closure of Intel), the dynamism of this sector would surpass the millions that the company exported.”

Cinde data indicate that the number of companies in the medical sector is 613% higher than in 2000, employment is 12 times greater than in 2000 and currently there are about 17,000 people working in those areas.

The closure of an Intel sale means laying off 1,500 workers.

That same Tuesday, the U.S. company Bank of America announced in a statement the closing of their operations in Costa Rica, which means laying off about 1,400 workers at its call centers.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Ricas