Jim Meek, executive vice president for Bank of Nova Scotia, says the bank has found its Costa Rican employees so talented that Tico executives are now regularly transferred to the bank's other international locations, a new kind of export. Intel, encouraged by the success of its manufacturing plant, added a new software design unit staffed with locally trained people, and company executives say up to 25 percent of Intel's personal-computer processors may ultimately be assembled in Costa Rica. If those sorts of successes continue, Costa Rica's fast-growing foreign investment numbers will only continue to rise.

U.S. laws, Puerto Rican taxes, and incentives
When your flight sets down in Puerto Rico, listen closely. Following the roar of the reverse engine thrusters comes the roar of Puerto Rican passengers applauding their return home. Can you blame them? They live in a paradise of white, sandy beaches, lush tropical rain forests, and a climate with temperatures in the low 80s year-round. The business climate isn't bad either, or the 57 Fortune 100 companies operating here wouldn't be.

"Puerto Rico has everything that a U.S. state has, with lower tax rates and much lower labor costs," says Manuel Casiano, editor-in-chief and publisher of Caribbean Business, Puerto Rico's leading English-language business weekly. Indeed, Puerto Rican businesses can display a "Made in the U.S.A." label. Its 4 million residents are entitled to Social Security and are covered by U.S. minimum wage laws. U.S. law also regulates all interstate trade, foreign relations, and commerce.