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Colombia and Costa Rica Join the OECD: What Does This Mean?

Colombia and Costa Rica Join the OECD: What Does This Mean?

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization with the aim of designing policies for a better way of carrying out development and economic co-operation. These policies would bring prosperity, equality, opportunities, and well-being for everyone. The OECD works with the organization’s member governments to set international standards to produce solutions too different social, economic, and environmental challenges. They are described as “a single forum, a knowledge center for data collection and analysis, sharing of experiences and good practices”. Currently, the organization counts 38-member states, including Colombia and Costa Rica, who became members 37th and 38th respectively. Colombia: the journey to the OECD In 2020, Colombia became an official member of the OECD. Colombia began its journey to join the OECD in 2011 when its President, Juan Manuel Santos, showed interest in their country becoming a member state of the organization. Between 2013 and 2018, the 23 OECD committees worked on technical reviews in order to determine the viability on behalf of the Colombia Government to make the necessary modifications to access membership of the organization. In 2014, the country took the necessary actions for its accession to the organization. These included the issuing of a memorandum on legal instruments applicable to the country by the Organization which grants immunity to the members to carry out their duties as independently as possible. It was in 2018 when Colombia received a formal invitation to become a member...

When Does an NGO in Costa Rica Need Anti-Money Laundering Policies?

When Does an NGO in Costa Rica Need Anti-Money Laundering Policies?

Non-governmental organizations or NGOs in Costa Rica must take into consideration anti-money laundering policies, and how they should apply them to their organizations to comply with local legal requirements. Find out the related legislation and relevant groups supporting anti-money laundering for NGOs in Costa Rica and Latin America, and how you can protect your organization. Policies to fight money laundering in Costa Rica Anti-money laundering policies supervise the movement of capital in Costa Rica. Since 1988, Costa Rica has been working on security against drug trafficking and other activities arising from illegal acts. In that same year, the "Law on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, Drugs for Unauthorized Use and Related Activities ” (Law 7093) was created to fight criminal acts that affect the social coexistence, development, and quality of life of its citizens.  This Law is constantly modified and strengthened. Today it includes specific coverage regarding "money laundering and financing terrorism". Following these modifications in the law, its articles, regulations, and other dictated guidelines, the law now supervises the movement of capital in the economy. It seeks to ensure that illegal movements are exposed, such as the flow of capital from doubtful origins and destinations. Do NGOs need anti-laundering policies? NGOs in Costa Rica should have a policy against money laundering. Their policies are dependant on their line of business and the means by which they manage their income. Even if the legal entity is classified as a Non-Profit...

Register and Protect Your Trademark in Central America

Register and Protect Your Trademark in Central America

Registering your trademark in Central America protects your intellectual property from competitors. A trademark is defined as a unique sign that distinguishes your product or service from others. Once registered, you must take certain steps to protect your trademark regularly. Central America is comprised of 7 countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Central America is comprised of 7 countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Together, these countries amount to a GDP of US$268.65 billion and a population of 45.524 million people. Registering a trademark in Central America is essential to remain competitive and build a unique brand in the market. Unknowingly misusing an already existing trademark can lead to legal and financial burdens. Be sure to understand how to register a trademark in six of these Central American countries. Likewise, it is also crucial to understand how to manage your exclusive rights to ensure no third parties are using designs identical or too similar to your own. This includes conducting trademark searches, demonstrating commercial application of your trademark, and renewing it when necessary. Benefits of protecting your brand with trademarks Registering your trademark comes with many advantages, including: Protection of the trademark in the country of registrationRight to file legal action against those who violate the use of your trademark for their commercial benefitRight to restrict the import of goods that use registered trademarks that infringe...

How to Conduct a Trademark Search in Central America

How to Conduct a Trademark Search in Central America

Conducting a trademark search in Central America is the best way to protect your business and distinguish it from other companies. It is a crucial pre-emptive step before applying to register a trademark when expanding your business in the region. In this article, we will help you understand all aspects you need to consider to conduct a trademark search in Central America appropriately. Classify your business to conduct an appropriate trademark search in Central America To start a trademark registration in Central America you need to consider the following elements:  The name or brand you want to registerThe product/service you're providing to conduct your business. The registration of a trademark might not be successful if your company/product name is similar to others. In some countries, just the name similarity prevents the registration of the brand. The conflict between two identical trademarks would be a huge setback in the process, as it will take much more time to be completed.  Before applying for a trademark, you need to know how your business is classified according to the Nice Classification. Before you begin: understanding the Nice Classification System Understanding the Nice Classification System is particularly important. It outlines a system of products and services eligible for intellectual property protection, adopted by a significant number of countries worldwide. The Nice Classification System allows users to specify their business activities and therefore, the market that will be covered by their trademark. The Nice Classification System...

May 2020 Regulatory Update: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay

May 2020 Regulatory Update: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay

Our senior legal and accounting experts deliver monthly updates on regulatory and other changes in their respective countries in Latin America. Find out regulatory changes occurring across Latin America that may impact you and your business. Extension for Registry of Commerce renewal in Bolivia Bolivia's response to the COVID-19 includes an extension of the deadline for commercial renewal with the Registry of Commerce. In Bolivia, the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has included an extension of the typical deadlines for companies to provide certain documents to government agencies out to 29 May. These documents include: Annual Financial Statements,the company’s Annual Report 2019, andIncome Tax Declaration. As such, the deadline for commercial renewal with the Registry of Commerce (Registro de Comercio) will be rescheduled. The official due date is pending confirmation from government officials. Colombia reduces contributions from employees and employers In Colombia, Decree 558 of 2020 reduced the required pension contributions from employers and employees in order to increase business cash flow and disposable income for individuals. This is part of Colombia’s overall initiative to prevent mass job loss. These pension contributions are reduced from 16% to 3% - 2.5% from employers and 0.5% from employees). Other Decrees and Circulars announced by Colombia during their COVID-19 Pandemic response include: Circular 021: outlines options for flexible working arrangements, and options to take vacations in advance to avoid further layoffs.Circular 022: confirms...

How to Form an NGO in Costa Rica

How to Form an NGO in Costa Rica

Understand how to form an NGO in Costa Rica to support your commercial and social causes. The Costa Rican government works to promote sustainability and growth in the country. Costa Rica is a social State of law that cares about the well-being of its citizens and those residing in its territory. The government works to promote sustainability and growth. It also strives to develop policies that pay due attention to the needs of its people through the different institutions of social aid, social security, education and family assistance. Government institutions and civil organizations can provide social aid to Costa Ricans. People and companies with a broad sense of assistance to others can unite under the same objectives and causes in varied formal company structures. This includes such as non-profit organizations (NPOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), associations, foundations, and committees, among others. In this sense, these organizations support people working together to achieve a common goal in whichever sector for which they seek to cooperate. Why form an NGO in Costa Rica? NGOs are the perfect organization structures to develop social initiatives in a variety of areas of action, such as environmental protection, education, housing, aid for people and animals, among others. Costa Rica holds a strong economy with a GDP per capita that has tripled in recent times, and due to its proximity to large markets and the large influx of international companies, forming an NGO in Costa Rica allows people to manage donations and volunteer initiatives in order to...

Costa Rica Promotes Sustainability and Growth Through Business Development Initiatives

Costa Rica Promotes Sustainability and Growth Through Business Development Initiatives

Costa Rica business development initiatives strongly support the country’s overall economic growth and welcome foreign business. With dozens of habitats and climate zones, it can be easy to only relate Costa Rica to nature and biodiversity, however, the country’s development has far surpassed economic activities from the primary sector. The growing technology scene and public strategies adopted by the government have contributed to the economy and to create sustainability.  While most Latin American countries still struggle to develop different industries to an advanced level, Costa Rica has worked on this since the early 1990s. The country's energy matrix originates mainly from renewable energies and exports are diverse, including technological devices, agricultural products, forest products, and other various manufactured articles. This diversification has contributed to billion-dollar worth of exports in both, the technological and the agricultural industries. Businesses seeking a market with demand and supply of renewable energies, high technological innovation and support for foreign investment can look to Costa Rica. In this article, we touch upon Costa Rica business development initiatives to boost entrepreneurship and business activities. Costa Rica’s business development initiatives One of Costa Rica's greatest business development initiatives is the Zona Franca. Costa Rica has a tax-free regime to boost investment, known as the Zona Franca Regime (FTZ). FTZ provides tax exemptions to business in especified industries. These exemptions are not indefinitive...

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