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Costa Rica hosts forum for 400 experts in the medical device industry – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica

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  • Experts to analyze the industry’s competitiveness and challenges
  • Opening panel to discuss human talent, Free Trade Zone Regime, and investment climate in Costa Rica

May. More than 400 national and international experts will meet this Wednesday, May 24, and Thursday, May 25 to analyze the main challenges and opportunities for the medical device industry worldwide.

The event, called MedDevice Forum, is held in Costa Rica and it is the most important medical technology symposium of the year. In total, it consists of 3 panels and 5 lectures with national and international experts, as well as 34 participating companies, with the co-organization of the local Free Trade Parks Coyol Free Zone and Evolution Free Zone.

Carlos Wong, Managing Director of Coyol Free Zone, stated: “The presence of international experts of the highest level in our country is a sign of Costa Rica’s weight within the Life Sciences industry. This participation is the result of an effort to demonstrate that we have the technology, human capital, experience, and an excellent ecosystem to host the best medical device companies in the world”.

During the MedDevice Forum, critical issues affecting the industry will be addressed and solutions to the challenges it is currently facing will be sought. Contract manufacturers, suppliers, consultants, investors, and academics from the sector will be present to learn first-hand about the tools that enable them to compete in today’s business environment.

Costa Rica makes inroads into the industry

Currently, 52% of the country’s medical device exports come from Coyol Free Zone, a Free Trade Zone located in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Thanks to this, the country will lead the first MedDevice Forum panel, under the name “Introduction to the Medical Device Manufacturing Community in Costa Rica. A Look at the Region and the Free Zone Business”.

This panel will be led by representatives of Promotora de Comercio Exterior (PROCOMER), Asociación de Empresas de Zonas Francas de Costa Rica (AZOFRAS), and Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo (CINDE).

During the last period, Costa Rica exported close to US$4,569 million in Precision and Medical Equipment, of which just over US$2,088 million represent medical devices manufactured in the Coyol Free Zone, or approximately 2.76% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021.

About Coyol Free Zone

Coyol Free Zone is the leading medical device export park in Costa Rica, exporting over US$2 billion per year, which is equivalent to 30% of the exports of the manufacturing segment of the country’s Free Zone Regime.
For the past three years, it has been part of the Top 10 Free Trade Zones in the World and was named the Best Free Trade Zone in the Americas, in the Top 10 worldwide, and Honorable Mention for Environmental Practices, Infrastructure, and Logistics, by fDi Intelligence in 2022.
In addition, it is the Best Free Trade Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Most Innovative Free Trade Zone of the Year, and the Best Business Center for Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing, according to The European magazine, as well as the Most Resilient Free Trade Zone in the World before Covid-19, according to Investment Monitor in 2021.



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Advantages of the Free Trade Zone Regime in Costa Rica – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica

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Benefits go beyond tax exemptions

Coyol Free Zone is the perfect success story of the Free Trade Zone Regime in Costa Rica. Our industrial park brings together world-class companies in a specialized cluster, thus allowing them to be more competitive and efficient.

Proof of this productive bonanza is reflected in prolific export figures each year, exceeding US$2 billion, and representing 52% of the value of medical device sales abroad, according to the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER).

Such results have positioned Costa Rica as the second most important exporter of Medical Devices in Latin America, only behind Mexico.

Multinational companies can take advantage of Coyol Free Zone’s cluster, while also benefitting from a Free Trade Zone regime adapted to the current global trade dynamics.

The Costa Rican Free Trade Zone regime offers:

  • No custom duties on imports/exports, remittance tax exemptions,
  • 8 to 12-year period of tax exemptions on the transfer of real estate and municipal licenses,
  • competitive tax on royalties and fees,
  • full exemptions on the imports of goods necessary for the operation of the company,
  • 100% income tax exemption for the first 8-year period,
  • and exemptions on domestic purchases of goods and services.

Operation-booster incentives for

Direct Foreign Investment in Costa Rica

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The benefits may vary according to the free zone location inside the country. Companies installed outside the Great Metropolitan Area get extended returns in specific cases.

Costa Rica itself is an attractive investment destination, with longstanding legal security, political stability, an ample talent pool, and a worldwide reputation as a country in harmony with the environment.

This location is also prized for its proximity to the U.S. and European markets, with access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In such a competitive country with many perks, Free Zones are driven to offer additional benefits that increase their value proposal, and make them stand out from the rest. Our industrial park is one of those cases.

What makes Coyol Free Zone special?

We offer the ideal conditions for Life Science companies to further increase their operation value in the region. We also promote other industries, such as smart manufacturing and logistics.

It is also relevant to mention that thanks to the presence of on-site sterilization services and logistics companies in our industrial park, we enable medical devices to be exported directly from Costa Rica to different destinations around the world.

This is translated into significant savings in production, time, transportation, and warehousing, but most importantly, into increasing the quality of life of millions of patients.

These operational benefits go hand in hand with complementary services aimed at sustainable development, such as human talent training, dual education programs, smart mobility, and eco-efficiency, among others.

People who work at the companies installed in the park not only enjoy quality employment, but are also developing a career that makes them competitive in the industry.

Our goal is to provide innovative solutions for clients who positively impact the economy, their employees, and surrounding communities.



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2,000 people trained to work in the Life Sciences Industry – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica

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  • Courses were taught in the first half of 2023

 August. Four different initiatives developed by Coyol Free Zone enabled approximately 2,000 people to strengthen their skills and abilities to opt for quality employment in the Life Sciences industry or to specialize in their current jobs.

This Park offers an educational effort with social projection called “Coyol Te Prepara” que (Coyol Prepares You), which includes various programs to support people by providing training and employability. One of them is the Manufacturing Operator Course, offered virtually and free of charge to learn about the particular features of the Life Sciences industry, of which 1630 people have taken advantage in the first 6 months of 2023.

Historically, since its launch in 2021, the course has benefited more than 7000 people of all ages and educational levels.

A second program included in “Coyol Te Prepara” is the educational tours. It is coordinated with the educational center and companies in the Free Trade Zone to receive students from high schools and universities with careers related to the medical device industry. The objective is to hold talks and visits to companies to address topics such as the importance of soft skills, English proficiency, technical courses to strengthen their careers, and to build aspirations both in terms of studies and as an excellent place to work.

The students who have been received in this first semester of the year are from towns such as San Ramón de Alajuela, San Carlos, Sabanilla de Alajuela and Desamparados. The Coyol Free Zone companies that have opened their doors to them are: Hologic, SMC Ltda, Segex and Coopervision.

“Our outreach to nearby communities, companies and educational centers is essential for the country, not only as a contribution to our search for talent, but also as a way to promote and awaken their interest in careers related to science, mathematics and engineering, which will have a high placement rate of professionals in the short and medium term”, said Carlos Wong, Managing Director of Coyol Free Zone.

In addition, the Park provided training through the National Learning Institute (Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, INA) for 181 employees in areas such as quality inspector, information and communication technology operator, English, occupational health, and production supervisor, among others, thanks to an agreement between the entity and the Coyol Free Zone development group.

Within the framework of the current agreement between INA and Coyol Free Zone, a technical assistance program was developed to strengthen the manual and motor skills of potential candidates for the position of manufacturing operator and to become active employees within the companies.

They are joined by a group of 145 people who work in the Free Trade Zone, and joined BachiCoyol, an initiative together with the Castro Carazo University to support Park employees to start or complete the third cycle of high school education and obtain their High School Diploma (Bachillerato por Madurez) through virtual classes.

Coyol Free Zone is also the first free zone to open its doors to Dual Education in alliance with the Ministry of Public Education (MEP). Thanks to the participation of the companies SMC Ltda., CooperVision and Abbott, the students of the Industrial Electronics technical career of the Technical Professional School (CTP) of Atenas are studying their second year alternating between school and companies, a modality that allows them to have the skills and knowledge of companies engaged in advanced manufacturing and production of medical devices.

About Coyol Free Zone

Coyol Free Zone is the leading medical device export park in Costa Rica, exporting over US$2 billion per year, which is equivalent to 30% of the exports of the manufacturing segment of the country’s Free Zone Regime.
For the past four years, it has been part of the Top 10 Free Trade Zones in the World, and was named the Best Free Trade Zone in the Americas, in the Top 10 worldwide and Honorable Mention for Environmental Practices, Infrastructure and Logistics, by fDi Intelligence in 2022.
It is also the Best Free Trade Zone in Latin America and the Caribbean for the fourth consecutive year, the Most Innovative Free Trade Zone of the Year, and the Best Business Center for Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing, according to The European magazine.



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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Manufacturing Industry: What does it imply? – Coyol Free Zone – Costa Rica

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Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being incorporated into many technologies involved in the smart manufacturing process , including semiconductors, communications equipment, software applications, and platforms.

At Coyol Free Zone, we believe in AI’s potential to improve the smart manufacturing industry, associated with the benefits of increasing efficiency and sustainability in many processes.

The influence of AI in manufacturing is growing, with many applications starting to change the way factories and plants are managed.

With AI evolving as a catalyst that may reshape the workforce strategies, roles, and business benefits in our industry in the coming years, all companies should be ready for the challenges related to adopting these technologies.

The current implementation of AI in the manufacturing industry

According to survey results from the “Manufacturing Leadership Council’s New Industrial AI in 2030”, many manufacturers have just recently started evaluating AI implementation potential.

They also have clear plans to significantly accelerate such adoption in the coming years, with 96% of all surveyed companies expecting a substantial increase in AI investment levels.

The survey shows that 57% of the consulted companies are still in the experimental phase with AI technology, to identify how it can be applied and managed, and what implications it could have for their functions.

Nevertheless, a significant 28% of the surveyed companies say they are already implementing AI projects operationally, particularly in the fields of manufacturing, production, and inventory management.

The expected implications and benefits of AI implementation in the manufacturing industry

One of the desired outcomes of implementing AI is to leverage its analytical power to optimize processes, leading to better decision-making, cost savings, improved planning, increased agility, enhanced competitiveness, and sustainability across the company operations.

In terms of benefits for production and supply chain operations, the survey results indicate that the top expected outcomes include improvements in predictive maintenance, more sustainable production operations, and process innovation.

Companies were also asked about the noticeable challenges they believe AI adoption could bring to their environments.

A remarkable 65% of the participants indicated that their main concern is data issues, which include challenges in accessing, formatting, and integrating disparate sets of data, as well as data privacy.

Other concerns mentioned in the survey were the absence of appropriate AI skills among employees, and the need to upgrade legacy equipment.

In terms of workforce impact, 45% of interviewees predict that their workforce headcount will not be affected by the implementation of AI technologies, while 32% expect these changes to increase their workforce headcount, aiming to cope with the availability of new roles in response to upcoming necessities.

Finally, when asked about how significant of an impact will AI have on the manufacturing industry in 2030 and beyond, 59% of the respondents described AI-related implementations as “very significant or game-changing for this industry.”

AI manufacturing implementation in industrial park Coyol Free Zone

According to the Manufacturing Leadership Council, the key to fully maximizing the potential of the new trends of Manufacturing 4.0 is the ability to leverage the information from all aspects of manufacturing. This may not only provide a step change in efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and productivity, but also enable business model innovation that can enhance value creation.

This philosophy aligns with our vision at industrial park , where our leadership in sustainable Real Estate development in the Americas, demands us to increase efficiency standards, and guide our suppliers into providing the best quality of products with cost-effectiveness and reduced times.

Alongside our values of innovation, adaptability, and efficiency, we recognize that the implementation of AI in some of our processes will represent an asset in the future, towards our commitment to keep providing innovative solutions to world-class clients.



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