In a speech to the local business community, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Anne S. Andrew emphasized what she called a “strong alignment of priorities” and “striking coincidence” between the goals of incoming Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla and those of U.S. policy in the region.
At a luncheon organized by the Costa Rican – American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Andrew cited Chinchilla’s promise to make the security of Costa Ricans her highest priority, along with her pledge to move Costa Rica into the ranks of developed nations by promoting investment in high-tech industry, education and a carbon-neutral economy, as evidence that Chinchilla and U.S. President Barack Obama share a similar vision for the region.
Andrew noted the “clear priorities” of the Obama administration in its dealings with the region include promoting citizen security, ensuring the region’s long-term energy security and environmental sustainability, and boosting “shared prosperity” in the Western Hemisphere through increased trade and economic modernization.
Andrew said that increased security of Costa Rica’s citizens is “essential” for the nation to meet its economic aspirations, and that the U.S. is providing technical and material assistance in this area through police training, providing equipment and helping Costa Rica develop a regulatory framework for managing the gambling industry and addressing economic crimes.
The ambassador lauded Costa Rica for its ambitious goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral nation by the year 2021, saying that the initiative is not only important for helping the country become environmentally sustainable, but also as a driving force for the competitiveness of the Costa Rican economy.
In the economic sphere, Andrew said that Costa Rica should work to remove bureaucratic and “hyper-legalistic” obstacles to foreign investment and economic initiatives, reduce its deficit and improve its infrastructure.
Emphasizing the key role of public private partnerships in helping Costa Rica meet its development goals, she added that the U.S. is “committed to helping Costa Rica reach the status of a developed country” through a broad-based program of training, information-sharing, exchanges and other forms of assistance.