More information about Costa Rica is available on the Costa Rica Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
U.S.-COSTA RICA RELATIONS
Costa Rica, a strong democracy of five million people with deep ties to the United States, is important to key U.S. goals in the region and is committed to continued close cooperation with the United States. It has an excellent trade and investment climate, is one of the strongest and most reliable voices in Latin America on human rights and rule of law, and has been a superb partner in the fight against transnational crime and drug trafficking. The country has a strong tradition of independent journalism, ranking first in Latin America on the World Press Freedom Index.
The U.S. goals in Costa Rica are to: (1) improve Costa Rica’s security, including for American citizens, and bolster its ability to contribute to regional stability; (2) support sustained economic and commercial growth that fosters prosperity in both countries; and (3) promote regional policy priorities on governance, prosperity, and security. In 2018, the United States provided over $70 million in assistance programs implemented in Costa Rica in support of these goals, including programs related to security, education, labor, agriculture, economic empowerment, migration, and the environment.
It is estimated that approximately 120,000 private American citizens, including many retirees, reside in the country; more than 1.4 million American citizens visit Costa Rica annually. Over 8,000 U.S. students study in Costa Rica every year, and Costa Rica is the number-one destination in Latin America for U.S. study abroad programs.
U.S. Assistance to Costa Rica
The U.S. Strategy for Central America (The Strategy) guides U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance in the region. The Strategy is a bipartisan, multiyear U.S. government plan covering all seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). The Strategy aims to secure U.S. borders and protect American citizens by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and transnational crime, while increasing opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The Strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: 1) promoting prosperity, 2) enhancing security, and 3) improving governance. The United States works hand in hand with a wide range of Costa Rican government agencies and non-governmental organizations to secure Costa Rica’s borders, professionalize its police, strengthen its judicial sector, improve its corrections system, and empower at-risk youth. Peace Corps volunteers work in economic development, education, and youth empowerment programs, and U. S. Embassy programs promote entrepreneurship, economic inclusion, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States and Costa Rica are parties to the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which aims to facilitate trade and investment and further regional integration by eliminating tariffs, opening markets, reducing barriers to services, and promoting transparency. CAFTA-DR contains a chapter on investment similar to a bilateral investment treaty with the United States.
The United States is Costa Rica’s largest trading partner, accounting for approximately 40 percent of Costa Rica’s exports and imports. The United States also represents the largest source of tourism and foreign direct investment to Costa Rica. U.S. exports to Costa Rica include petroleum products, automotive parts and supplies, renewable energy, franchises, hotel and restaurant equipment, healthcare products, and construction equipment. U.S. imports from Costa Rica include medical devices, pineapples, bananas, and coffee.
Costa Rica’s Membership in International Organizations
Costa Rica and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Costa Rica is currently in the accession process with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Costa Rica maintains an embassy in the United States at 2114 S Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel. 202-480-2200).
More information about Costa Rica is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Costa Rica Page
History of U.S. Relations With Costa Rica
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page