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Costa Rica trade minister Andres Valenciano chat

Costa Rica’s trade minister Andres Valenciano participating in a ministerial panel on 8 October as part of Barcelona New Economy Week, where he spoke with Investment Monitor. (Photo by Barcelona New Economy Week)

Looking at the big picture, how well is Costa Rica positioned for recovery and what are its foreign direct investment [FDI] prospects?

Our free trade zone regime and, importantly, our policy on export diversification has allowed us to use this moment as an opportunity. FDI in Costa Rica has actually grown during the pandemic, not only for new investments but also for expansions. That is because companies understand that they are going to find social, political and economic stability for the long term in Costa Rica, and also that we have a lot of value to add. We have been investing in our talent, and opening up new opportunities in terms of digitalisation.

Our energy policy offers companies the possibility of running their operations solely from renewable sources as well. We are a stable democracy, we have rule of law, and we have this vision of sustainability that has been working well for more than 30 years – that is what helps put Costa Rica on the map.

So, if you add these factors together, Costa Rica was actually well poised for when companies started asking themselves: where should I invest now? Where should I diversify? Costa Rica already had a proven track record. What I tell people is don’t believe my words, just look at the number of companies [investing in Costa Rica] and how diverse those companies are and the reinvestments that they have done in the past decade, and you will see that we have been able to deliver what companies are looking for.

At the same time we understand that we have to evolve, as companies are evolving, and we are working very closely with the private sector to understand current and future needs.

Costa Rica places a big emphasis on environmental, social and corporate governance [ESG] and sustainability, and we know that is part of your FDI strategy as well. How easy is it to balance ESG criteria with the need to develop the economy and create jobs?

We believe these [objectives] complement each other and seeing them as mutually exclusive is not the way to go.

Our track record speaks for itself and our value proposition of people, planet and prosperity will continue to be the driving force behind our FDI strategy.

Companies are increasingly saying they want to invest in places that can deliver on ESG and sustainability criteria. That has always been Costa Rica’s differentiator, and we pride ourselves in having no army and being able to use those resources to invest in people and in taking care of the environment [instead] – and just as taking care of the environment has paid off for us, for example, in terms of tourism, it now pays off more and more in terms of business. We look for companies that are speaking the same language when it comes to ESG and sustainability, and that has been a winning strategy for Costa Rica.

What kind of changes do you anticipate to the FDI landscape from the G20 tax reforms? Are you supportive of those reforms, and how might they impact Costa Rica?

That is a fascinating discussion. Now that we are OECD members – we just became member number 38 – we were recently in France at the 16th ministerial meeting of the OECD and this was one of the issues that was discussed. Obviously, the corporate taxation and BEPS framework is moving forward, there is a lot of momentum behind it. Most of the countries are on board now around the world, and Costa Rica is happy to take part in that conversation for a couple of reasons. One is that our free trade zone regime has already been updated to OECD standards, so we are well prepared to make sure that when investors are asking ‘do you comply with those standards?’ the answer is ‘yes’. However, at the same time, the conversation then quickly shifts into ‘well, if you level the playing field in terms of taxes, in terms of fiscal incentives, what else can the country offer?’.

Guatemala’s Minister of Economy Antonio Malouf in conversation during Barcelona New Economy Week on 8 October. (Photo by Barcelona New Economy Week)

Then we go back to the answer to that first question that you asked, and we can say that Costa Rica actually offers a lot of other important variables, such as talent, sustainability, stability. Another important aspect is that international companies want to be able to offer the right living conditions for their executives. At the end of the day, people want to live in places where they have a good quality of life and Costa Rica can also offer that.

We are open for business and we are looking to have conversations with companies that want to invest in our country. Our track record speaks for itself and our value proposition of people, planet and prosperity will continue to be the driving force behind our FDI strategy.


Courtney Fingar is editor-in-chief of Investment Monitor and a widely known commentator on international investment trends.


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outubro 13, 2021

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Fortescue chooses green ammonia to decarbonize its fleet | Brazil Modal

Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group has revealed plans to convert its existing fleet to run on green ammonia and adopt it in new vessel construction to push up the company’s decarbonisation efforts.

The plans were announced as part of a broader target to achieve net-zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040.

Scope 3 emissions are “the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts in its value chain”, according to a definition provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

To achieve this target, Fortescue is focused on achieving a number of initiatives including converting its existing fleet of eight 260,000 tonne capacity ore carriers to run on green ammonia and use that fuel to power future newbuilds.

Green ammonia has been identified as one of the key alternatives to fossil fuels in the shipping’s pathway toward becoming carbon neutral. According to the predictions from the International Energy Agency (IEA), it will account for around 45% of global energy demand for shipping in 2050.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation and at Fortescue, setting stretch targets is at the core of our culture and values and we are proud to set this goal to tackle emissions across our value chain,” said Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines.

“Fortescue has commenced its transition from a pure play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company, underpinned by the world’s first major carbon emission heavy industry operation to set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030,” Gaines added.

Through its Fortescue Future Industries division, the company plans to develop its own mass-scale green hydrogen production plants, use that hydrogen to make iron out of its own ore and sell the resulting “green iron”.

“Collaboration is integral to driving the rapid transition to green energy, and we remain committed to actively engaging with our customers, suppliers and other key industry participants to facilitate the reduction of emissions,” Gaines pointed out.

“This includes the development of technologies and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia through FFI, which will provide significant opportunities for the steel, cement and land and sea transport industries to decarbonise.”

The company is targeting the production of 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030.

“Our work to decarbonise Fortescue’s iron ore operations will position Fortescue as the first major supplier of green iron ore in the world, paving the way for production of green iron and a new green steel industry,” FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, concluded.




Source: World Maritime News


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