As the economy recovers, more multinational companies are looking to invest in Costa Rica.
The latest is medical device manufacturing company Nitinol Devices & Components (NDC), whose decision to begin operations in the country was announced this week. Gabriela Llobet, the director general of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), estimated that approximately six more companies will break ground or inaugurate new operations in the upcoming months.
NDC manufactures medical guide wires used for non-invasive surgery. The company is negotiating to set up a facility in one of San José’s free trade zones, which allow businesses to import materials and export goods without barriers such as quotas or tariffs(TT, Jan. 29).
Llobet said the Fremont, California-based NDC was a good fit for the country because of Costa Rica’s close to its primary market, the United States. In addition, other medical device manufacturers are already having success in Costa Rica.
“It’s a strategic location,” Llobet said. “Just for the fact of already having all these companies operating here in this sector – it’s a great indication for them that they can find the required human capital to not only to get established here, but continue growing (pursuant to) a long term strategy in Costa Rica.”
NDC will invest $3.5 million in operations in the country, and plans to hire 30 employees by the end of the year. The long-term goal is to employ 200 people, Llobet said.
She added that CINDE hopes to help bring in 29 multinational businesses this year. She said that an early estimate is that around 5,000 jobs could be created in the services, medical devices and advanced manufacturing sectors. 21 new operations moved to Costa Rica in 2009.
The Central Bank estimates $1.3 billion of foreign direct investment for the country this year, while two sectors in particular appear to be leading Costa Rica’s foreign investment landscape.
“We’re going to continue to see some medical device manufacturing companies and (companies) in the area of services as well,” Llobet said. “(Also) perhaps, in other areas as well. But I would pinpoint these two specific sectors as ones in which we have seen continuous growth in the past. And I believe we’ll see the same in 2010.”