Bilateral relations with Costa Rica are traditionally close and based on mutual trust. The fact that many Costa Ricans have German roots has created a special relationship with Germany. Costa Rica and Germany are partners in the Alliance for Multilateralism. In May 2019, Costa Rica’s President Alvarado Quesada visited Germany, where he had talks with President Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel and opened the Digital Future Forum at the Federal Foreign Office together with Foreign Minister Maas. The main focuses of the wide-ranging bilateral relations are trade and economic exchange, cooperation on environmental and climate change issues as well as cultural and academic relations.
Costa Rica is a popular destination for German tourists (2018:74,000) and numbers have continued to increase since the start of direct flights to and from Frankfurt. The main attractions are the rich biodiversity and numerous national parks.
Germany is one of Costa Rica’s most important trading partners within the EU. In 2018, Germany imported goods worth 548.6 million euros from Costa Rica and exported goods to the value of 245.7 million euros to that country. Germany exports chemical products, machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts. Its main imports from Costa Rica are foodstuffs, mainly coffee, bananas and pineapples, measurement and control technology, optics as well as electronics and electrical goods.
A bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement has been in place since 24 March 1998 and a bilateral double taxation agreement since 10 August 2016. A large number of German companies operate in Costa Rica. In autumn 2019, a dual system of vocational training based on the German model was introduced in Costa Rica. The German school in San José, the Colegio Humboldt, teaches up to the German university-entrance qualification (Abitur) level.
Germany has been supporting Costa Rica’s committed climate and human rights policies for many years, in particular through projects aimed at a sustainable economy, the protection of biodiversity, decarbonisation and the digital transformation, as well as the protection of the rights of women and minorities.