Bilateral relations with Costa Rica are traditionally close and based on mutual trust. The fact that many Costa Ricans have German roots (and have assumed key roles in the Government of Chaves Robles) has created a special relationship with Germany. Costa Rica and Germany are partners in the Alliance for Multilateralism. Bilateral cooperation is wide-ranging and is focused above all on environmental and climate change issues, dual education, trade and economic exchange, as well as close scientific and academic relations.
The number of German tourists to Costa Rica, with its tremendous biodiversity, coastlines and numerous national parks, had been rising steadily prior to the pandemic. The number of Germans visiting the country in March 2022 was almost back to pre-pandemic levels (2019).
Germany is one of Costa Rica’s most important trading partners in the European Union, and there is potential for more. Germany exports chemical products, machinery, vehicles and vehicle parts. Its main imports from Costa Rica are medical technology, fruit, foodstuffs and other products such as measurement and control technology, electrical engineering products and electronics. Costa Rica’s main trading partners are the US, China, Japan and South Korea.
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. Several 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. Since 2019, all state schools have been allowed to teach German.
Germany has been supporting Costa Rica’s committed climate and human rights policies for many years, in particular through projects aimed at the rule of law, a sustainable economy, the protection of biodiversity, decarbonisation and the digital transformation, as well as the protection of the rights of women and minorities. Germany also supports the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José and has observer status at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).