Costa Rica's FTZ supports sustainable development plans



Costa Rica has set up Free Trade Zones industrial parks (FTZ) for large international companies to operate specific divisions of their organizations. These zones offer incentives, such as 100% tax free benefits on the following: capital taxes, import duties, export taxes, local sales and excise taxes, corporate income tax, import duties on raw materials, and components and capital goods. In order for these enterprises to establish themselves in a free trade zone they must abide by predetermined guidelines as well as specific conditions accourding to their treaties. Most notably abiding by the strict sustainable development guidelines and business practices outlined by Costa Rican's Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE). Some obligations that must be carried out by these enterprises are investing in assets either within or outside the parks are provide a 1% Environmental Guarantee Deposit, monthly PROCOMER fees based on industry, export a minimum of 50% of services, which are highly recommended to go through local, native exporters. Furthermore, there are many obligations that are to be met within the confines of their designated ares within in the FTZ, such as building energy efficient structures, develop the exterior infrastructure leading up to the zone, construct and maintain green spaces throughout the campus, support recycling and energy efficiency programs, as well as solely employing a minimum of 100 Costa Ricans. By employing locals of Costa Rican origin, these organizations promote higher levels of training and education, which furthers the country's innovation and fosters growth. Therefore, Costa Ricans receiving higher salaries have more disposable income and pour more money into the local economy. This has a domino effect which stimulates more innovation, exportation and growth, which CINDE plans to utilize to support more sustainable development projects. The relationship between the enterprises, the Costa Rican's as well as the environment are mutually beneficial.

VMWare, a Silicon Valley tech company based out of Palo Alto, CA, has set up operations in a FTZ in San Jose, CR to benefit from the non-expiring tax exemption benefits. This progressive software company fully embraces the sustainable development practices through their energy efficient workspace including open floor plans, low cubicles and full windows to utilize natural light throughout the entire structure level. Also, they provide extensive support for recycling rather than wasting. VMWare fully upholds a personal connection with their employees, which helps to acquire and sustain the practices put in place.

Thomson Reuters, a news and data distribution organization based out of Minnesota, US, has also established the Americas accounting, payroll and order processing departments in the Free Trade Zone in San Jose, CR. Like VMWare, Thomson Reuters adhere to the energy efficient expectations by organizing their offices to cut costs and energy waste by allowing the natural light to flow in with full windows. Conservation is clearly on the forefront of Thomson Reuter's agenda, as they provide transportation from hub's located all around the city to allow for the use of public transportation by their employees as well as cutting down vehicle emissions. By reducing the amount of cars on the road, they are helping to reduce their carbon footprint.



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