Sunday 10 December 2023

The Trump Effect on Costa Rica

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(QCOSTARICA) To the surprise of many Donald Trump won “bigly” the presidency of the United States.  In Costa Rica, the big question is how will a Trump presidency affect Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America, especially when it comes to trade, jobs, foreign policy and immigration.

An article by explains the possible “direct” effects of a Trump presidency on Costa Rica, as American politics transitions to unfamiliar terrain and history.

President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump

Here is the outline of some of the key effects of Trump’s choice of president for Costa Rica by

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Trump emphasizes protectionist and restrictive trade polices on goods coming from abroad. The position of the president-elect will focus on restricting products from countries such as China and Mexico, affecting other nations in the regions that could extend to Costa Rica, which depends on the United States as its main trading partner.

For examples, explains the, Trump has talked about a 35% tariff on goods coming from Mexico, which would encourage the purchase of U.S. made products.

The president-elect also opposes outsourcing and proposes to repatriate companies that would in tax-free areas outside of the United States, by reducing corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, intended to motivate local investment.

By the third quarter of 2016, North American businesses accounted for 44% of Costa Rica exports. Medical devices and bananas the main goods exported to the United States.

In addition, the president-elect has continuously emphasized that he would renegotiate the NAFTA treaty (free trade agreement) with Mexico and Canada, a phenomenon that could also be replicated in other Latin American countries. According to a report by Moody’s, Costa Rica and Mexico may be the two economies most exposed to a reduction in trade ties, due to the type of related exports.


In his election campaign, Donald Trump promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent the entry of illegal Latin Americans. He also promised that Mexico would pay for that construction, which would add 5,000 border agents and expand the number of Border Patrol stations.

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In the election campaign speeches,Trump linked illegal Latinos with violent crimes and promoted nationalistic rhetoric, that will lead to the application of deportation measures for unauthorized immigrants. The rhetoric including a Trump presidency abolishing US citizenship obtained by Latinos at birth in the United States.

Although he initially promised to forcibly deport all the immigrants living in the country (11 million people), he later changed it to indicate that he would only apply the measure to those who proved to be an immediate threat to the Americans. He also promised that he would ban unauthorized immigrants from accessing public benefits – including those related to health insurance.

According to the most recent report of the State of the Region (Estado de la Región) for 2015, 116,627 Costa Ricans left the country not to return.

In line with the Central American trend, Costa Ricans chose the United States as their new home (about 74% of the total).

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President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump onelection night


Trump has called for the U.S. federal minimum wage to be raised to ten dollars an hour, although it intends that minimum wage increases be made at the discretion of each state. The upside effect could directly affect Costa Rican remittances,averaging $511 per month, from the United States.

According to data from the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR), it is estimated that 187,689 Costa Ricans live and work in the United States, of which 49% send cash remittances for an approximate amount of US$32 million dollars.

Foreign policy

The axis of Trump’s speeches on foreign policy has been focused on transactionality. For Trump, the United States must abandon any collaboration with other countries, if it does not generate direct revenues.

“We are spending a fortune defending other countries,” Trump said in the latest presidential debate

Such positions could reduce US cooperation to certain nations. However, it should be noted that there have been no direct references to cooperation in Central America. The United States recently provided Costa Rica with the largest support in 30 years, including more than 2,000 scholarships, donations to security (the police), among others.

Following the election results, Trump said he would seek to prioritize the interests of the United States, “without falling into hostility. We are going to get along with all the nations that are willing to get along with us,” he added.

“While we are going to put the interests of our country first, we will seek common ground,” he promised.
Original article in Spanish can be found at

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