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U.S. relations with Costa Rica.


Fact Sheet

November 19, 2013

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.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Costa Rica in 1851, following its independence from Spain and the later dissolution of a federation of Central American states. The United States and Costa Rica have a history of close and friendly relations based on mutual respect for democratic government, human freedoms, free trade, and other shared values. Costa Rica's record on the environment, human rights, and advocacy for the peaceful settlement of disputes give it a weight in world affairs far beyond its size. This record also means that Costa Rica and the United States often share similar positions (votes) in international fora. The United States and Costa Rica enjoy robust bilateral law enforcement cooperation. The two countries have signed a maritime cooperation agreement that facilitates narcotics seizures, illegal migrant rescues, illegal fishing seizures, and search-and-rescue missions.

The United States and Costa Rica share a strong commitment to combating climate change, preventing environmental degradation, as well as preserving Costa Rica's important and rich biological diversity. The U.S. and Costa Rican Governments, the Central Bank of Costa Rica, and The Nature Conservancy have concluded agreements that provide funding for the conservation, restoration, and protection of tropical forests.

It is estimated that approximately 120,000 private American citizens, including many retirees, reside in the country and more than 1.2 million American citizens visit Costa Rica annually.

U.S. Assistance to Costa Rica

U.S. foreign assistance seeks to assist the Costa Rican Government improve public security, the primary concern of both Costa Rican citizens and political leaders. Providing a safe and secure domestic environment will contribute to greater economic growth and prosperity, and will help keep local and transnational crime from eroding the effectiveness of Costa Rica's democratic institutions. U.S. Peace Corps volunteers work in economic development, education, and youth empowerment programs.

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 most important trading partner accounting for almost half of Costa Rica's exports, imports, and tourism, and over half of its foreign direct investment. U.S. exports to Costa Rica include machinery, oil, agricultural products, plastic, and semiconductors. U.S. imports from Costa Rica include computer accessories, semiconductors, medical instruments, pineapples and 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.

Bilateral Representation

Gonzalo Gallegos is Charge d'Affaires ad interim; other principal 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, DC 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:

Department of State Costa Rica Page

Department of State Key Officers List

CIA World Factbook Costa Rica Page

U.S. Embassy: Costa Rica

History of U.S. Relations With Costa Rica

Human Rights Reports

International Religious Freedom Reports

Trafficking in Persons Reports

Narcotics Control Reports

Investment Climate Statements

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page

U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics International Offices Page

Travel and Business Information
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Publication:Background Notes
Geographic Code:2COST
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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