Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.
Last Published: 12/17/2018
There are no significant trade barriers affecting the entry of most goods and services into Costa Rica.  The country continues to unify and lower its tariffs in compliance with its commitments to Central American neighbors, World Trade Organization obligations, and tariff reduction schedules under CAFTA-DR.  Costa Rica is a member of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters (group of countries seeking more market access and less customs protection for domestic agricultural production). This position has critics within Costa Rica's agricultural sector.  Opponents of free agricultural trade occasionally attempt to block imports of some domestically sensitive items, such as rice, potatoes, and onions.  The Ministry of Agriculture enforces strict sanitary controls on imports of agricultural products.  For instance, the market for U.S. potatoes was closed in 2013 and reopened in 2016 after almost three years of negotiations.

The main issues related to non-tariff trade barriers are found in the process of registering pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.  The Costa Rican government requires a Good Manufacturing Practices Certificate which is not issued in most states in the United States. The manufacturer needs to invest time finding the right entity that can add the information required by the Costa Rican government as part of the Free Sales Certificate. In certain cases, a U.S. company can be exempted by proving that their state of residence is unable to provide the certificate. There is an exception for members of the U.S. Council of Cosmetic Products, an association that only issues this certificate to their members.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Costa Rica Trade Barriers