Only about a third of smaller firms export, study says

Just 34 percent of the small- and medium-sized companies in Costa Rica export their products, according to a new study.

The statistic comes from José Martínez, director of the Escuela de Administración de Empresas at the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Cartago.

Martínez just obtained his doctorate from the Universidad de Valencia in Spain with a dissertation based on this topic.

He was interested in what factors encourage and what factors are barriers to exportation. He reported that management attitude is important, as well as the channels of distribution and information about the international market.

Of course, the characteristics of the product are key, also.

The topic has greater relevance now that the Central American Free Trade Treaty allows Costa Rican firms to compete on equal footing in other countries. The institute, which is one of Costa Rica’s public universities, said that Martínez cited the international vision of a company’s executives as well as access to a data base of potential foreign customers.

Martínez also said that the company also has to be savvy in financing their exports as well as being able to compete in the international market. The exchange rate is one of the areas about which company executives must consider, he said.

The firms that do export have an average of 20 years experience, he said he found. His work was based on a sample of small- and medium-sized companies in all the country’s provinces, the institute said.

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