UK-Central America association agreement
The UK has signed an association agreement with a number of Central American countries, including Costa Rica. This covers provisions on trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and trade in goods. Tariff rates on goods and quotas, rules of origin, preferential tariffs and sanitary or phytosanitary measures have been agreed upon to facilitate trade with the region. Non-preferential applied rates may apply, according to the UK’s Most Favoured Nation tariff arrangement.
Read our latest updates for more information on the status of this agreement and how it may benefit your business.
Top five UK goods exported to Costa Rica , in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023
|Value (£ million )
|Specialised machinery (capital)
|Scientific instruments (capital)
|Medicinal & pharmaceutical products
|Plastics in non-primary forms
Total import value (into the UK from Costa Rica) and export value (from the UK into Costa Rica) over time
|Imports (£ million )
|Exports (£ million )
|Total trade (£ million )
ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: October 2023
Total trade is the sum of all exports and imports over the same time period.
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Costa Rica.
Costa Rica: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
The Department for Business and Trade team in San José has identified opportunities for UK companies in the following sectors.
A wide rage of biodiversity
Despite Costa Rica being a small country (accounting for only 0.03% of the earth's surface) it possesses 6% of the world's biodiversity. Therefore it is a natural laboratory for green innovation which gives the opportunity to do R&D (Investment Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, 2022).
British exporters will find world-class companies to partner with. Costa Rica is home to 13 of the top 20 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and 16 top technology leaders. Therefore you can partner with recognised medical device, pharma, and biotech companies (Investment Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, 2022).
There are opportunities to supply and cooperate in end-to-end solutions for medtech. Also biotech opportunities in solutions for disease and new bio-materials (Investment Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, 2022).
Costa Rica's location means that maritime transport has become the most widely used means of trade. The government is looking to renovate Limón-Moín Port, one of the 2 most important maritime ports in the country (Esencial Costa Rica, 2022).
The Electric Passenger Train of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of Costa Rica Project is a great opportunity for UK companies that can provide goods and services in infrastructure. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) finances this project.
Growing market potential
Cybersecurity is becoming a priority for businesses, government organisations and any users on the web. 82% of multinational service companies based in Costa Rica plan to invest in this technology (Investment Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, 2022).
Costa Rica is ranked second in Latin America and 27th worldwide in programming skills. It's ranked top for digital skills in Latin America (Investment Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, 2022).
Private development in the agritech industry
Costa Rica is keen to develop and improve its agricultural output with new technology and tools. Some examples of opportunities for UK companies are: equipment for land preparation and crops, greenhouse production, precision farming, dairy, poultry and pig production. UK businesses specialising in this sector are welcomed.
Maintaining a clean energy matrix
There are opportunities for UK companies offering solutions for decarbonisation and development of a clean energy matrix.
Technology in the agriculture sector
Public institutions are investing to incorporate technology in the agricultural sector. This ranges from the acquisition of molecular biology, plant protection and animal nutrition to soil laboratories and drones.