Accession Number:

ADA504439

Title:

Costa Rica: Background and U.S. Relations

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-07-21

Pagination or Media Count:

15.0

Abstract:

Costa Rica is a relatively politically stable and economically developed nation with a long tradition of civilian democracy. Former president 1986-1990 and Nobel-laureate Oscar Arias of the National Liberation Party was elected President in 2006. Throughout his term, Arias has focused on expanding the countrys social safety net and increasing free trade. He faced strong opposition to the countrys inclusion in the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement CAFTA-DR, but eventually secured its ratification and implementation. Arias has also been active in foreign affairs, establishing diplomatic relations with China and Cuba after decades without formal ties. Once a predominantly agricultural nation, Costa Rica has established a diversified economy with a strong export sector. Under President Arias, the country has increased its social investment, experienced significant economic growth, and seen a reduction in poverty. The global financial crisis and economic downturn, however, threaten to erase these gains. President Arias has responded to the crisis with an ambitious fiscal stimulus and social protection plan. While the plan may do much to mitigate the social impacts of the crisis, analysts believe it will be unable to prevent Costa Ricas economy from slowing considerably in 2009. In recent years, many have begun to recognize Costa Rica as a world leader in environmental protection. Successive Costa Rican administrations have sought to address the extensive deforestation and environmental degradation that resulted from decades of logging and agricultural expansion. The countrys innovative policies, strong conservation system, and commitment to alternative energy have done much to restore Costa Ricas environment. Costa Rica also is party to a variety of international treaties and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2021.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Environmental Health and Safety

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE