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Cablegate: Asian Markets Lead 2005 Costa Rican Export Growth

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 002952

SIPDIS

WHA/CEN
EB FOR WCRAFT, BMANOGUE
E FOR DEDWARDS
WHA FOR WMIELE
WHA/EPSC FOR KURS, LGUMBINER
H FOR JHAGAN
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR RVARGO, NMOORJANI, AMALITO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECPS ECON PREL PGOV SOCI CS
SUBJECT: ASIAN MARKETS LEAD 2005 COSTA RICAN EXPORT GROWTH

REF: SAN JOSE 1940

1. Summary. The Costa Rican Trade Promotion Corporation
(PROCOMER) has reported that Costa Rican exports this year
through October 2005 reached USD 5.77 billion, an increase
of ten percent over the same period last year. The biggest
increases were realized in exports of agricultural and
technology products. Asia continues to be the fastest
growing market as evidenced by the region's 64 percent
increase in demand for Costa Rican products. Most notable
is that in mid 2005 Hong Kong replaced the Netherlands as
the number two destination for Costa Rican exports. China
is also an important market for Costa Rica at position 6,
while Taiwan occupies position 16. End Summary.

2. Costa Rican exports no longer are limited to two or
three agricultural crops as was the case only a generation
ago when coffee and bananas were the principal Costa Rican
exports. Now 1,800 companies export more than 3,600
products. While overall agricultural exports grew 5.6
percent, performance was uneven among different crops. In
fact, banana exports, which remain Costa Rica's most
important agricultural export, declined 13.4 percent.
Manufacturing sector exports grew 12.7 percent led by a 25
percent increase in shipments of electronic integrated
circuits and microassemblies.

3. Export growth to Asian markets was most pronounced
during the period; as a result, 14.4 percent or USD 829
million of Costa Rican exports were destined for Asia
through October 2005. This marked a growth of 64 percent
over the same period last year. Based on more recent data
through November 2005, Hong Kong led the pack as demand
there for Costa Rican products grew 267 percent to USD 421
million, supplanting the Netherlands as the number two
destination for Costa Rican exports. Hong Kong remains a
distant second to the U.S. as an export destination; the
U.S. purchased 40.3 percent of Costa Rican exports during
the period in question. However, growth of exports to the
U.S. market through that period was 0.4 percent to USD 2.6
billion.

4. Through November 2005, exports to China grew 61 percent
to USD 226 million, and to Taiwan 140 percent, to USD 78
million. Top exports to Asia included semiconductors,
modular and integrated circuits, and radiographic
telecommunications equipment.

5. Costa Rica registered double-digit export growth to
several other countries and regions through November, as
follows: 31 percent to the Netherlands (the number three
destination with a value of USD 405 million); 60 percent to
Canada (an FTA partner but only the twentieth largest
destination for Costa Rican goods, at USD 49 million); a
13.8 percent increase to the other CAFTA-DR countries
(excluding the U.S.) to just over USD 1 billion, and 12.3
percent to the Caribbean region.

6. COMMENT: To put the current share of Asia's demand for
Costa Rican goods in perspective, it is interesting to note
that if taken together as a trading bloc, CAFTA-DR
countries excluding the U.S. would constitute the number
two destination for Costa Rican exports, more than double
that of Hong Kong and approximately quadruple that of
China. END COMMENT.
FRISBIE

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