• Growth across all sectors and destination regions.
• The Free Zone regimen and contracts increased by 30% and 16%, respectively.
• Services exports showed a 6% increase in the III quarter of 2021 over the same period in 2020.
• Knowledge-intensive services offset decreased travel.
San José – January 25, 2022. Costa Rica closed 2021 with a 24% growth in goods exports reaching $14,553 million, an estimated $2,858 million over 2020. The 24% surge marks the country’s largest total increase of the last 15 years.
The resounding climb in exports is attributed to positive performance across all sectors and promises a satisfactory recovery for those severely affected the previous year. Precision and medical equipment -the country’s leading export sector- saw sales abroad grow by 33% (+$1,312 million), the agricultural sector -second in importance for Costa Rica- grew by 6% (+$169 million), the food industry by 26% (+$430 million), chemical-pharmaceuticals by 10% (+$73 million), electrical and electronic by 37% (+$191 million), metalworking by 71% (+$280 million), plastics by 26% (+$95 million), and livestock and fishing by 13% (+$45 million).
The products with the highest growth in 2021 were medical devices (+$1,289 million), syrups for soft drinks (+$145 million), pineapple (+$112 million), electrical cables (+$100), iron and steel bars (+$92 million), palm oil (+$72 million), fruit juices and concentrates (+$49 million), tires (+$48 million), glass containers (+$48 million), and iron pipes and accessories (+$45 million).
The agricultural sector saw a particularly marked increase. In addition to common staples such as pineapple (+12%), ornamental plants (+31%) and frozen fruits (+42%), diversified product such as mango (+65%), coconut (+144%), chayote (+11%), cassava (+5%), tiquisque (+46%), yampi (+145%) and ñampi (+13%) grew significantly, demonstrating the diversity of goods offered.
Likewise, destination regions continued to show positive behavior: North America -the principal destination market- grew by 26%, Central America by 26%, Europe by 15%, Asia by 27%, the Caribbean by 28%, and South America by 59%.
“We congratulate the export sector for its successful performance in 2021. A growth of 24% in goods and 6% in services (as of the third quarter) show that the sector is dynamic and adapts to current global challenges. Such a significant increase is also evidence of a solid trade policy, one that allowed us to deliver more than 90% of our exports to countries with FTAs and facilitated a nearshoring trend that added more companies to our export park,” stated the Minister of Foreign Trade and President of the Board of Directors of PROCOMER, Andrés Valenciano Yamuni.
“Without a doubt, 2021 was an extraordinary year in the performance of goods exports, the result of a diversified export offer and differentiated products, which generate confidence in international markets. It is also a sign of the export sector’s resilience and innovation and the multiple public and private efforts that led to new opportunities for our exporters. At PROCOMER, we promote more than 530 business agendas, facilitate more than 400,000 foreign trade procedures, and provide training to more than 1,450 companies of all sizes, sectors, and regions. For 2022, we are firmly committed to continuing to support the sector and opening more opportunities in international markets,” added PROCOMER General Manager Pedro Beirute Prada.
Services exports – III quarter 2021
As for service exports, the III quarter of the previous year showed a 6% increase, reaching a total of $6,451 million – $369 million more than the same period of 2020. The same data, excluding the travel category, shows a 9% growth.
The recovery of the services sector is attributed to the positive performance of knowledge-intensive services such as business, information, communication technologies, and transformation services, with an average annual growth of 4%, 11%, and 54% over 2019-2021 (III quarter). Such growth offsets the decline in the travel sector resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
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