Costa Rica said Thursday it has been invited to begin the process of joining the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a 34-member club of industrialized nations.
"It's great news that marks a milestone in our development," said President Luis Guillermo Solis, who has lobbied for membership in the elite group.
The small Central American country, which is known for its ecotourism industry and its moves to attract foreign tech companies, would become the third Latin American country in the OECD, after Chile and Mexico -- though Colombia is also trying to join.
The process of gaining membership will now take up to two years, said Costa Rican officials.
The OECD, whose members account for about 63 percent of the global economy, is a forum for countries to collaborate on best practices in policy areas such as taxation, energy, investment, transport and the environment.
Costa Rica's economy ranks 81st in the world by size -- $49.6 billion in 2013, according to the World Bank.