The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Central America holds its own in terms of business opportunities and Costa Rica is one of the top locations for new enterprises.

In analyzing the region “Central Statistics: Indicators of Sustainable Human Development” the State Program Office notes that Central American countries during the last decade recorded an average annual increase of 10% in the value of their business relationship, both imports and exports.

Monica Segnini, president of the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica, said that the region has a market of 50 million people, appealing to people to invest in business operations.

Segnini also emphasizes that when owning the similarities in tastes and preferences in goods and services between countries, Costa Rica values small and medium businesses.

Francisco Gamboa, director of Commercial Intelligence Procomer, constitutes a perfect regional niche market for small and medium business is to become a successful exporter and then to cover other markets with more demanding policies.

“Due to aspects such as geographical proximity, cultural similarities and patterns of consumers, the natural market should be viewed as an extension of our domestic market. Four out of five companies exporting to Central America are SMEs and in the first five months of the year, went to the region 22.6% of the value of our exports, excluding electronic components,” said Gamboa.

During the last decade, Central America quadrupled the amount of foreign direct investment which went from $2.1 billion in 2000 to $8.3 billion in 2011. Panama and Costa Rica are, in that order, countries that concentrate the largest share of the total FDI flows into the region, with 33% and 25% respectively in 2011.

Given the positive impact of business relationships, Alexander Mora, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, has announced the start of talks with their counterparts in the region to set an agenda and review the issue of border efficiency.

As for local policies, Mora said he is developing assistance program funding primarily for SMEs seeking or have business relationships in the region.

“We are working on an initiative with Bicsa and other banks to provide assistance to companies that do business in the region, in the sense that these institutions are to assume the financial risks,” said Mora.

 

Central American countries and their stats:

Costa Rica

Gross Area: 51,100 km2

Population: 4,890,825

Total GDP (2012): $ 57,955,000

Currency: Costa Rican Colon

 

El Salvador

Total area: 20,742 km2

Population: 6,280,780

Total GDP (2012): $ 46,050 million

Currency: U.S. Dollars

 

Guatemala

Total area: 110,000 km2

Population: 15,530,210

Total GDP (2012): $ 80 billion

Currency: Quetzal

 

Honduras

Total area: 112,000 km2

Population: 8,725,000

Total GDP (2012): $ 38,420 million

Currency: Lempira

 

Nicaragua

Total area: 139,000 km2

Population: 6,040,650

Total GDP (2012): $ 11,133,000

 

Panama

Total area: 80,000 km2

Population: 3,706,596

Total GDP (2012): $ 67,804,000

Currency: Balboa

 

Note: Figures rounded to the nearest value

 

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica