MedCity Influencers

The Costa Rican Life Sciences Event You Should Not Miss

This post is sponsored by CINDE. CINDE, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, is hosting the “Life Sciences Forum” in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 18 through the 20th. We sat down with CINDE’s Director of International Affairs, Pilar Madrigal. MCN: Hello, Pilar, and thanks for joining us. Tell us about your event. Who […]

This post is sponsored by CINDE.

CINDE, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, is hosting the “Life Sciences Forum” in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 18 through the 20th. We sat down with CINDE’s Director of International Affairs, Pilar Madrigal.

MCN: Hello, Pilar, and thanks for joining us. Tell us about your event. Who should attend and why?

PM: The Life Sciences Forum Costa Rica 2013 will address the most pressing topics and needs in the medical device industry, with an emphasis on globalization. We expect  CEOs, corporate executives, government officials, and academic leaders to attend.

MCN: Sounds good so far. What makes your event special?

PM: Ours is the only conference in the world which highlights the benefits of doing business in Costa Rica and, as I mentioned before, also addresses topics that are of importance to the industry as a whole. I don’t know if your readers know this, but 13 percent of Costa Rica’s national output is in medical devices.

MCN: I did not know that.

PM: Yes, in fact, my agency, CINDE, is commissioned to welcome medical device and related businesses to our shores. When companies consider where to outsource their production, Costa Rica should be at the top of the list.

MCN: Why do you say that?

PM: How long do you have? (Laughs.) There are some obvious reasons and not-to-obvious ones.

First, it’s true, we have lower labor costs than most industrialized nations but what makes our workforce so extraordinary is how educated, young, talented, and loyal it is. George Blank, Chairman of Vention Medical, recently participated in a call with us and said, “Within six months [of his arrival], Costa Rican assembly lines were out-performing wherever they came from … Costa Rican workers are very motivated to improve and to excel. They are a very major advantage of Costa Rica.”

Second is the matter of intellectual property protection.  Our modern protection mechanisms meet international standards. As you know there are many places in the world where companies have a difficult time bringing their best products because they can be copied and duplicated and they’ll turn around and they are facing their own products in the market place except they are manufactured by somebody else. That’s not a problem for us. Our business climate is very honorable, it’s open, it’s very enthusiastic. Suppliers and customers have a lot of respect for each other. Basically you usually get the truth as for what their needs are. It’s easier to get to a yes-yes in this environment.

Third, we have a stable democracy and Costa Rica ranks first in the Latin Security Index. This cannot be over-emphasized. You have a business to run. The last thing you need to worry about is political instability or business disruption because of security issues.

Fourth (and especially for US-based companies), we are in your time zone! That’s a big advantage: You can jump on a plane and see your / your client’s facility in a few hours’ time.

And I’ve saved one of the biggest advantages for last.

MCN: Taxes?

PM: Taxes.

MCN: I’m surprised you didn’t lead with taxes.

PM: (Laughs.) Yes, Costa Rica’s Free Zone allows holiday for income tax exemption for a minimum of 8 with the possibility of renewing this exemption period multiple times upon reinvestment.  Furthermore, you will be exempted from sales tax, remittance repatriation tax, withholding tax on royalties, fees and dividends, just to name a few. You are paying no tariffs. It’s a big advantage  — but I don’t lead with it  — because without an ambitious workforce, IP protection, and a stable democracy and a safe environment, you might not have any profits left to protect!

MCN: Well done. Anything else you’d like to share?

PM: Thanks, Chris, yes. I think what makes our Life Sciences Forum really, really valuable is the participation of the biggest names in medical devices: St. Jude, Allergan, Baxter, Boston Scientific, Hologic, Covidien, Abbott and Hospira. These companies have graciously agreed to open their doors  — literally  — to a limited number of attendees, to come and walk their production floors and ask anything they want: What works, what doesn’t, how best to integrate with offshore production, etc. It is important to mention that there are nine plant tours of groups up to 15 guests and it is a first-come, first-serve basis and attendees must be approved by the OEM. We are encouraging interested people to sign up quickly as this is one of the many highlights of the event.

MCN: Not to mention the beautiful weather.

PM: Of course!

MCN: Pilar, thanks so much for telling us about the conference. It really sounds great.

PM: We have great speakers and sponsors lined up. We’re really looking forward to the conference. Attendees will not be disappointed!

 

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