Costa Rica export growth slows
Costa Rica's exports increased 14 percent in 2007, but the growth rate was down from 2006's 17 percent, according to figures from the Foreign Trade Ministry.
Trade Minister Vinicio Ruiz said the slower growth rate could probably be attributed to uncertainties over the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was endorsed by voters in an October 2007 referendum, but has yet to be finalized by the Legislative Assembly. The slowing U.S. economy is also a factor.
Exports increased to $9.34 billion. Industrial exports, which make up 78 percent of the total export market, grew 13 percent. That category includes textiles, electronics, medical equipment and plastics.
Observers expect textile exports to increase as soon as the CAFTA process is completed, putting it on a par with the trade benefits enjoyed by the Dominican Republic and the other participating Central American nations.
Agricultural exports, which make up 20 percent of the total, grew 9.2 percent. Within that category, food exports increased 33 percent.
Although the U.S. is Costa Rica's largest trading partner, exports to China increased to $1.4 billion, an increase of 30 percent.