Saturday, Oct 21, 2017
Industry & Trade | North America & Caribbean | Costa Rica

AmCham chief: “I believe in President Solis”


3 years ago

Humberto Pacheco, President of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce
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President of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, Humberto Pacheco, says that while the government has many challenges to face in improving the country’s business climate, he believes that the new Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis will deliver on his word.

The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Costa Rica) was founded over 40 years ago by a group of North American and Costa Rican businesspeople with a vision towards promoting and nurturing the bilateral relationship between the United States and Costa Rica.

Today, AmCham consists of 400 companies and 1300 corporate representatives, representing 80% of Costa Rica’s foreign direct investment and 75% of the country’s exports. The organization also continues to be the leading advocate for increased trade and investment between the United States and Costa Rica and for creating the conditions that will enable Costa Rica to become a major global competitor for foreign direct investment (FDI).

Meanwhile, Costa Rica’s history of democratic stability has already contributed to one of Latin America’s highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita, with its major economic resources, its well-educated population, free-trade zone incentives, and its strategic location in the Central American strip providing easy access to North and South American markets and direct ocean access to the European and Asian continents.

However, a factor that has hampered FDI in Costa Rica in the past is a culture of corruption and a lack of transparency associated with previous governments. So when the new President of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solis was elected in April 2014 – in the process becoming the first third-party candidate to win in 60 years – one of his first promises was to clear up corruption, thus creating a more attractive business climate and facilitating greater investment.

President of AmCham Costa Rica, Mr. Humberto Pacheco, says that while he has faith in the new President to deliver, he suggests the President should act quickly in order to ease the minds of concerned businesses.

“I personally believe in the President’s word and in his intentions,” says Mr Pacheco. “But it is necessary to say that many people are restless because of problems, and they have to be resolved in the short-term, because the country is anxiously waiting for positive answers.”

The AmCham chief points to the fact that there are too many public employees, especially in the government, that are earning far more than those in the private sector, as a particular problem that needs shaking up.

“The first thing we should do is end that unbalanced situation and end corruption,” he says. “(The government) also has to end the inefficiency in administrations. If we adopted these measures seriously I believe we could see significant improvements in the country in the next four years.”

While President Solis is expected to make the necessary changes to improve the business environment in Costa Rica, he has already taken a big step in improving economic relations with the US, the country’s largest trade and investment partner. His appearance in Washington earlier this year followed the scaling down of operations of some US companies in Costa Rica. However, Mr. Solís said: “Prior to my swearing-in, there was some question regarding Costa Rica’s capacity to compete, so I committed myself to an early trip to the U.S. to talk to investors and assure them of our commitment.”

Following such positive action, AmCham boss Mr. Pacheco says that the country needs to continue supporting its President. “We have to support the President completely, because nobody benefits from this administration’s failure. President Solis said the country still supports foreign direct investment and that he would do everything that was necessary to make (investors) feel secure.”

 

Vanessa Massimini (ProjectDirector)
Matteo Transtevere (Editorial Director)


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