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Costa Rica aims to boost medical equipment manufacturing

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Medical equipment is quickly becoming one of Costa Rica’s fastest growing exports, according to a private organization tasked with attracting foreign investment to the Central American nation.

The Tico Times reports that, according to figures from the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), exports of medical equipment manufacturing have increased from 1.8 percent of exports in 1999 to 13.5 percent by 2013.

Gabriela Llobet, CINDE president said she hoped a recently passed law regulating biomedical research on humans would help retain and attract more medical research and related high-tech investment in Costa Rica.

The statement comes as Costa Rica is still reacting to the decision by American multinational semiconductor chip maker corporation Intel to cut 1,500 jobs in Costa Rica from its workforce in Costa Rica.

The layoffs will occur over the next two financial quarters but, in further bad news for Costa Rica, the company will cease all manufacturing activities at the Costa Rican site, where both assembly and test operations are carried out.

The plant was established in 1997 and originally employed 2,500 workers, including engineers, business and human resources staff. After the layoff, 1000 jobs will still exist and Intel plans to generate 200 new positions.

As The Costa Rica Times reports, the nation’s ICT chamber Camtic, the labour and social security ministry and others are attempting to initiate an entrepreneurial program to deal with the losses of the Intel jobs, as well as other job losses such as the 1,400 job losses announced by The Bank of America earlier this month.

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