The United States is Guatemala’s largest trading partner accounting for nearly 35% 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 reached $48.31 million in 2022 (this figure was $16.89 million in 2005). (The Agreement signed in 2004, taking effect 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 $10.21 billion in 2022, an increase of $2.14 billion or 23% from 2021. Leading U.S. exports to Guatemala include mineral fuel oil, machinery, electric machinery, plastics, and cereals (corn, wheat, and rice).
U.S. imports from Guatemala totaled $5.31 billion in 2022, an increase of $640 million or 12.8% from 2021. U.S. imports include apparel; edible fruits, melons, and nuts; coffee; edible vegetables, roots, and tubers; sugars and confectioneries of sugar.
Guatemala’s economy is the largest in Central America, with a GDP in 2022 of $95 billion – slightly smaller than the GDP of West Virginia and larger than Delaware. The macroeconomic situation in the country remains solid and includes a stable exchange rate and a low public debt. Guatemala’s economic growth was 4.1% in 2022 and is forecast to grow by 3.5% through 2024.
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. In 2022, Guatemala set a record number of remittances totaling $18,040 million, $2,744 million higher than in 2021. Foreign remittances in Guatemala represent over 19% of the country’s GDP.
Political & Economic Environment: State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment.