Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
The United States is Guatemala’s largest trading partner accounting for nearly 40% of Guatemala’s trade. Both nations enjoy a growing trade relationship, which became even stronger after the implementation of the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in 2007. As of January 1, 2015, most U.S. consumer and industrial goods enter CAFTA-DR countries duty free (for goods that meet the country-of-origin requirements).
In general, CAFTA-DR has been very successful for all parties. Intra-regional trade among Central American countries and the Dominican Republic increased from $27.2 billion in 2020 to more than $38.7 billion in 2021 U.S. goods exports to Central America and the Dominican Republic have more than doubled since 2004 (prior to the Agreement taking affect for the first signatories). Nevertheless, CAFTA-DR has been unable to solve some of the region’s most serious problems – including insecurity and corruption.
U.S. merchandise exports to Guatemala were $8.07 billion in 2021, an increase of $1.78 billion from 2020. Leading U.S. exports to Guatemala include mineral fuel oil, machinery, electric machinery, and cereals (corn, wheat, and rice).
U.S. imports from Guatemala totaled $4.66 billion in 2021, an increase of $900 million from 2020. U.S. imports include edible fruits and nuts; knit apparel; coffee, tea, and spices; woven apparel; edible vegetables, roots, and tubers.
Guatemala’s economy is the largest in Central America, with a GDP in 2021 of $85.99 billion – slightly smaller than the GDP of West Virginia. The macroeconomic situation in the country remains solid and includes a stable exchange rate and a low public debt. Guatemala’s economic growth is consistently averaging 3.5% per year.
U.S. products and services enjoy strong brand recognition in Guatemala, and U.S. companies have a good reputation in the Guatemalan marketplace. It is estimated that approximately 200 U.S. firms have a presence in the market.
A key component to Guatemala’s economy is remittances from over two million migrants, most of whom have settled in the United States. Guatemala closed 2021 with a record number of remittances totaling $15,295.7 million, $3,955.3 million higher than in 2020.