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China to Invest In New Technology Park

The global economy may be grinding to a halt, but investment from China continues to pour into Costa Rica.

Days after President Oscar Arias laid the first stone of the new, $83 million, Chinese-financed National Stadium last week, the far eastern power announced this week it would help finance a new science and technology park in Costa Rica.

The park, the location of which has yet to be determined, will be modeled after a similar technology and development hub in Shanghai, China, which Arias visited in October 2007.

According to Competitiveness Minister Jorge Woodbridge, the aim of the project is to develop Costa Rica’s potential in several fields of technology, industry and science.

The project aims to “to improve the level of competitiveness in the country,” especially in areas of innovation and productivity, Woodbridge said.

While some reports have estimated the project will cost $65 million, the minister said such projections were premature.

“We don’t have an exact cost still because (the project) will be divided into five phases,” he said. “This first (phase) will cost $20 million, and includes biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology and mechatronics.”

Woodbridge added that the amount of China’s investment is currently under negotiation, and the project will include financing and investment from the private sector as well. The project will also be a collaborative effort with the country’s four public universities: the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, NationalUniversity, University of Costa Rica and StateUniversity at a Distance.

Two locations, one in Curridabat and the other in Heredia, are under consideration as potential sites for the park.

Woodbridge said a timeframe for development would be given once a location is selected.

–Patrick Fitzgerald



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