Costa Rica: Investment in Free Zones Still Falling

For third year in a row investment flows from foreign companies in the free trade zone have decreased.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The uncertainty generated related to taxes and the loss of competitiveness of Costa Rica compared with other countries also affects the free zone regime, which in 2013 received foreign direct investment (FDI) of $528 million, 12% less than in 2012, according to figures from the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

"FDI, mainly that in the free zone, is very sensitive to the tax issue and, since last year, discussion of the topic has been revived and there has been talk about reviewing exemptions," said Jorge Brenes, president of the Association Business of Free Zones to

"Despite the decline in the amount of resources, half of the current companies located in free zone came in between 2010 and 2013, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade."

More on this topic

No Changes to be Made to Costa Rica's Free Zones

July 2015

Once again the Presidency has spoken out to calm investors denying the insinuations of a Deputy Minister related to opening up the discussion on the free trade zone regime.

According to an article in, the Deputy Minister of Labour, Harold Villegas, mentioned in the framework of the International Forum of Social Solidarity Economy that "as a society we should discuss the activities that should or should not be tax-free and although free zones functioned well in a moment of history, it's time to move towards a system of greater tax justice and for a more open discussion to take place. "

Panama: More Investments in Free Zone

May 2015

The arrival of 13 new companies has been announced in the sectors of services, processing of finished or semi-finished products and assembly in the free trade zone in the country.

From a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama:

The potential of Panamanian Logistics, tax benefits and immigration benefits, are still the main attractions which caused 13 new companies to decide to settle in Panama, protected under Law 32 of April 5, 2011 on Free Zones, announced the Minister of Trade and Industry, Meliton Arrocha.

Costa Rica: Municipal Taxes for Free Zones

May 2014

The Constitutional Court is examining an appeal by a mayor against the exemptions from municipal taxes for companies operating under the free zone regime.

The constitutional motion filed seeks to eliminate Article 20 of the Law on Free Zones, which exempt from tax capital net assets, property and land transfer fees for a period of ten years from the commencement of operations.

Investment in Free Zones in Nicaragua

February 2014

The union of Private Free Zones plans to build five new business parks in 2014.

In 2014 the plan is to supercede the investment of $150 million which was made in 2013, with the implementation and establishment of new zones to boost the arrival of new businesses in sectors such Chontales where there is a new bridge over the San Juan river and the new Acoyapa-San Carlos road which is an export route for Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

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