Wednesday 22 September 2021

How The Trump Era Will Affect Life in Costa Rica

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From ‘Cartoonists around the world illustrate their feelings on the Trump administration’ by

QBLOGS / Donald Trump has and continues to make bold statements regarding “Making America First”, with the primary tenets of both “Buying and Hiring American”. If this philosophy were to be adopted verbatim in the manner in which Mr. Trump espouses, life in Costa Rica could be severely negatively impacted.

Without the well paid employment opportunities currently available to Costa Ricans in Free Trade Zones (Zona Francas), which revolve primarily around U.S. market oriented high-tech and pharmaceutical manufacturing and call centers for the Multinationals in the various office developments, primary Private Sector employment opportunities would be relegated to tourism, the service sector, and agriculture. Most certainly, if this were the case, the standard of living for many Costa Ricans would plummet to a low unseen for decades.

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However, what are the chances of such a negative impact on Costa Rica Society occurring?

A statement made by President Obama as he was leaving office, and with which I entirely agree, is that in-coming Presidents are always making bold statements about how they will change ‘History’, only to find that during the course of their Presidency, it is History that changes them.

In my opinion, Mr. Trump will also find this to be the case during his Presidency.

While I don’t disagree with Mr. Trump’s philosophy of “Making America First”, a slogan which obviously appealed to a large segment of the electorate, there is and will continue to be a requirement which has evolved through Globalization, for the U.S. in its world leadership role, to provide economic opportunity in foreign lands in return for continued world peace and stability.

Obviously, if millions of people around the world that currently depend on U.S. Multinationals in their respective countries to provide employment opportunities, are suddenly without work and are thrown into impoverished circumstances, there will be a real and present threat of the order of world peace and stability current enjoyed, being interrupted, at great cost to the U.S. in the form of military expenditures.

Mexico, as a prime example of a Country which could suffer such consequences of reduced employment, and which is located right on the southern border of the U.S., could pose an immediate threat to such stability in the U.S.

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In the end, the affect of Mr. Trump’s stated economic reforms on life in Costa Rica will come down to an accounting exercise by the various U.S. Multinationals currently operating in Costa Rica.

If tax concessions in the U.S. and reduced transportation costs obtained for the manufacture of goods in the U.S., out-weigh the lower employment costs of employing Costa Rican workers rather than U.S. workers, Costa Rica will suffer.

In my opinion, I don’t believe that this will be the case in-fact, as Globalization has become such an inherent part of the natural evolution of Human Society going forward, it will temper the movement toward the extreme protectionist position for the U.S., currently being promoted by Mr. Trump.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email:, Website:

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