In Costa Rica, Free Trade Zone companies have the possibility to request a new Free Trade Zone License, under article 20 BIS of the Free Trade Zone Law, if a new project will be implemented or a new significant investment will be made, by which such license will start from zero, including the tax exemptions, as of the date of formal notification.

To request a new Free Trade Zone License, companies shall comply and take into account the following considerations:

• Make a Significant Investment: The concept of “significance” is being understood, as of today, to be equivalent to the minimum required by law, depending on the category and location of the applicant company. Do note, however, that the criteria to determine this “significance” is not currently contemplated in any law or regulation, and corresponds, so far, to internal interpretations by COMEX (Ministry of Foreign Trade), that could be modified in the future.

• The investment that will be taken into consideration will be the one made after completing the first phase of the application for the new Free Trade Zone License, which takes approximately 1 month after the filing.

• The new investment indicated in the application can be completed within a period of 3 years starting on the date the Executive Agreement granting the new Free Trade Zone License is formally notified.

• The real employment level to the date in which the new Free Trade Zone License application is submitted will become the new minimum employment level, and it is recommended – but not mandatory – to add new employment, to the extent possible.

• The approval of the new Free Trade Zone License depends on the discretionary decision of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, so, it cannot be taken for granted (however, if the new investment level is high enough under the above indicated parameters and if the operation falls within a strategic sector, under current criteria, it is very likely it would be approved).

• The request for the new FTZ License under 20 BIS currently takes between 4 to 6 months to be approved.

If you are a Free Trade Zone Company with new projects or investments to be implemented in Costa Rican in the near future this might be a great option to enhance your benefits under the Free Trade Zone Regime.

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