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The Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024

by | Apr 21, 2024

Monica Umaña
General Manager – Foreign Investment
The Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER)
San Jose, Costa Rica

The Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024

Hello. We’re fortunate to have a very interesting person to talk with today. Her name is Monica Umaña. She’s the general manager of foreign investment of an organization called Procomer, which is Costa Rica’s Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Agency. Monica, I’ll let you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your organization.

Monica Umaña: Thank you, Steve. It is very nice to see you again, especially because of the topics we will talk about today, the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024.

As you said, my name is Monica Umaña. I have been working for the past year as the Foreign Direct Investment Division manager at Procomer. Procomer, as you said, is the National Agency for Investment and Export Promotion in Costa Rica. Still, I have been attending and receiving investors in Costa Rica for the past 11 years. So very nice to see you again and talk to you today.

LATAM FDI: Well, thanks. Today, we’re going to talk about something that’s very important. It’s a little bit exciting. We all know that Costa Rica has been very successful, especially because of the size of the country,  in attracting foreign direct investment for the last 30 years. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 that you have coming up that you can give more information on. But the first question I want to ask you is specifically related to that. You assumed the general manager role at the National Agency for Attracting Foreign Investment (Procomer) a year ago. Now, you’re preparing an event you will tell us about to showcase the benefits of investing in Costa Rica. What’s this all about?

Monica Umaña: Costa Rica has been a reference for foreign direct investment. With our responsibility as the Costa Rican Investment and Export Promotion Agency, we decided to have the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 to showcase why we host more than four hundred multinational companies. As you said, this will be the first edition of the FDI Summit. This represents a unique opportunity to keep positioning Costa Rica as a highly attractive destination for international investors. Costa Rica is well known as a country with highly skilled human talent, but also because it offers attractive fiscal incentives under the free trade zone regime. That is one of the main reasons many companies analyze and choose Costa Rica to have a manufacturing or services facility here in the country. We offer an excellent business climate, legal security, and, of course, sustainability. We have a record of stability and peace. We want to show this during the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024. We’re inviting new investors from key sectors. Costa Rica is interested in specific and strategic sectors such as the agro-industry and food industry, manufacturing, light and advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and the main export products from Costa Rica right now. We are also highly interested in targeting corporate services, digital technologies, and semiconductors. This is one of the most recent sectors of interest since we launched the roadmap for the semiconductor sector recently with the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Additionally, tourism investment is another sector that we want to attract to Costa. The Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 will take place on June 11th and 12th at the Costa Rican Convention Center, which is very close to the international airport in Alajuela.

LATAM FDI: Well, can you give us a little bit of a preview of what agenda is being planned?

Monica Umaña: Absolutely. Actually, the FDA Summit offers a comprehensive experience in two days. This is going to be an in-person format. On the first day, we will have a keynote speaker. He’s going to highlight the global landscape for foreign direct investment. We want to start with an overview of what’s happening worldwide. Our general manager, Laura López, will also share some updates regarding Costa Rica’s landscape and especially our opportunities in terms of strategic sectors inside and outside the Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica. Since launching our strategy a year ago, we have highlighted the importance of capturing investments outside the Greater Metropolitan Area. Diversification of sectors is really important for us, as well as diversification of countries of investment origin. We will have dedicated sessions for specific topics during the first day of the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024. For example, we’re going to examine digital technologies and global interconnectivity. I mean, this is a new level of complexity for companies, so we will talk about it. We discussed this earlier year, Steve, 2024 is the biggest election year ever. We have general elections in more than seventy countries around the world. This is something that will definitely shape decisions this year in terms of foreign direct investment.

Supply chain resilience is something that is still catching the attention of every single investor. When we receive new companies in Costa Rica, we must discuss this. Artificial intelligence will be present as one of the main topics, as will sustainability, Steve. Sustainability is a pillar of our Costa Rica value proposition for investors, and we will discuss this. But going back to the second day of the summit, we’re talking with each company about having a tailor-made agenda according to the sector and according to the needs of the company. We will be visiting industrial parks and academia. We will have benchmark meetings with companies already established in Costa Rica, and we’re organizing visits to the regions outside the Greater Metropolitan Area to ensure we present all the benefits we offer as a country and offer a comprehensive view of investment opportunities in Costa Rica.

LATAM FDI: Can you give us a little bit of a preview concerning some of the speakers that will be present at the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024?

Monica Umaña: Yes, sure. Actually, we’re about to send an updated version of the agenda and the speakers since we have confirmed participation. For example, FDI intelligence will be present. You know this platform is important for every person making investment decisions. Of course, we, as an investment promotion agency, want to have FDI Intelligence as one of our keynote speakers. Deloitte and other big names in terms of consultant firms outside Costa Rica will also be at the event. We want to highlight the success stories of multinational companies. With operations in Costa Rica. They will be part of these conversations because it’s important not only to mention benefits and what we offer but to let the companies talk about what they have been experiencing in Costa Rica in the past year. We will consider why Costa Rica is a natural hub for new investment. I hope to share the complete agenda of the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 with you and the audience soon.

LATAM FDI: Okay, that’ll be great. I’m sure it’ll be very informative, and you’ll have some good speakers. Before we started the interview offline, we were talking about how things are going right now concerning foreign direct investment in Costa Rica. Could you share some information about that?

Monica Umaña: Sure, Steve. Costa Rica reached a historic milestone in 2023 by closing the year with record figures in foreign direct investment. The country reached a 24 % increase compared to December, surpassing the estimated goal for that year by 131%. As part of the investment, 61% of this investment is under the free trade zone regime, followed by 19% in the definitive regime, 7% in tourism, 7% in real estate, and 6% in various other sectors. In terms of the activities, manufacturing leads with 55 % of the total, followed by the services sector with 25%. When we discuss the country of origin of each project we discussed earlier, we’re working to diversify our investment origins. The United States remained the main source of foreign direct investment in Costa Rica, the source of 71 % of the total. Belgium follows the US with 11 %, Switzerland and Panama with 4 % each. Last year, Procomer announced fifty-nine new investment projects. This is the highest number in recent years. It represents 64% growth compared to the thirty-six projects announced in 2022. Out of these fifty-nine new projects, thirteen were installed outside the country’s Great Metropolitan Area.

So, this is such a considerable number for us since then. This represents one of the pillars of our strategy to bring new investment outside the Great Metropolitan area. We confirm the ones in Orotina, San Carlos, the northern region of Costa Rica, the south region, Puntarenas, Cartago, Grecia, and Liberia in the northern Pacific. So additionally, out of these fifty-nine new projects, seventeen come from origins other than the United States, such as Italy, Japan, Peru, and France, to mention a few sources of investment.

LATAM FDI: It sounds like you’ve been pretty busy.

Monica Umaña: Yes. It has been busy and happy. Really exciting times.

LATAM FDI: That’s a good thing. Well, returning to the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 again. If you could repeat the dates, I think that would be good.

Monica Umaña: Yes. It’s June 11th and 12th. On the first day, we will be at the National Convention Center, and on the 12th, we will be outside having agendas and visiting specific areas.

LATAM FDI: If a company that’s listening to this wants to participate, what should they do?

Monica Umaña: Yes, definitely. I will share the link for the event so you can have all the details I haven’t mentioned before. Procomer is covering meals, local transportation, and lodging in terms of the hotels in Costa Rica. This is part of what we’re offering to the investors who would love to visit the country in June. But most importantly, we have offices all over the world. Interested parties can contact me, of course, here in San Jose and my colleagues overseas. We have offices in New York, Houston, Miami, Mexico, Canada, Central America, Latin America in general, Europe, and Asia. They can guide you through the process of signing up. Of course, the team here in Costa Rica is eager to receive investors and create new opportunities for the country. I’ll be sharing my email and the link for the event so you can read in detail what I mentioned before during the podcast. We’ll be more than happy, Steve, to have you. I hope you can visit us in June, and many investors, too.

LATAM FDI: Well, that’d be great. One of the things I know that you’d recommend is that I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t or didn’t like going to Costa Rica if they’ve been there. Would you recommend people build a few extra days to see the country?

Monica Umaña: Absolutely. Actually, we have enough time before and after the event. We need to extend the stay for  a couple of days, the agendas, and of course, tourism. This is part of the proposal.

LATAM FDI: It would be a shame to go there and be all occupied with business and not have a chance to see how beautiful your country is.

Monica Umaña: Thank you. Yes, definitely. We can provide support for that, too.

LATAM FDI: Well, I want to thank you. I wish you great success with the Foreign Direct Investment Costa Rica Summit 2024 and look forward to speaking to you on different topics in the future.

Monica Umaña: I hope so. I hope so. Thanks a lot, Steve.

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