Costa Rica's system of government is very similar to that of the United States of America. There are three branches of government: the Executive, which consists of the president, two vice presidents and advisors, the Legislative Assembly, with 57 individually elected deputies, and the Judicial Branch, which consists of civil, criminal, appellate and constitutional courts. The President and members of the Legislative Assembly are elected for four-year terms and the president can't run for reelection.
The two main parties are the National Liberation Party (PLN) and the United Social Christian Party (PUSC).
Political and Economical Stability
Costa Rica's political and economical stability has fostered one of the most reliable and transparent business climates in America. Fiscal incentives are offered, as well as a highly skilled labor force (95% of the population is literate), making high quality operations available at competitive operational costs. This environment fosters long term planning for multinational corporations that seek to establish or expand operations in a country that has consistently been rated as having one of the lowest risk ratings for investment. Costa Rica has become a country that attracts capital and technology intensive investment.
Costa Rica is the oldest democracy in Latin America. Its history and political system contrast with those of neighbor nations. The country has steadily developed and maintained democratic institutions in an orderly, constitutional scheme for government succession. Due to the fact that the armed forces were abolished in 1948, the resources that were once used for this matter have been devoted to education, personal health and an emerging broad middle class.
According to the United Nations' Human Development Index, Costa Rica has been classified as the country with the best quality of human resources among developing nations. This is based on life expectancy, literacy rate and general quality of life indicators compared to those of the most developed countries in the world
During 1993 and 1994 the country's GDP grew at an average 4.84% per trimester compared to the same trimester of the previous year. The GDP's growth during 1995 was of 2.5%, significantly exceeding Latin America's previous year's average of 0.6%, but somewhat short of the country's goals. Strict economic policies were established during 1995 in an attempt to stimulate the country's growth. These efforts will be consolidated during 1996 and are expected to maintain the steady economic growth of the GDP.
Located in the middle of the American Continent, Costa Rica borders with Panamá to the south and Nicaragua to the north, with its Pacific and Atlantic coasts merely 175 miles apart. The total area of the country is 51,000 sq. km. (19,632 sq. mi.). The capital city is SanJosé (pop. 1 million). The country's total population as of 1995 was 3.3 million inhabitants.
As befits the country's location, air and ocean freight transportation services are provided to major American, Mexican, Central American, South American and Caribbean ports and cities. This makes the country a superb location and strategic base for world markets, especially for the distribution of products to the Caribbean basin region.
The following are some international industries and services established in Costa Rica: