Business Opportunities in Central America Webinar Series

Central america

Business Opportunities in Central America Webinar Series

The U.S. Commercial Service has organized a Central America webinar series focused on highlighting business opportunities and key projects in the region's best prospect sectors including agriculture, food processing and packaging equipment, automotive parts/accessories/service equipment, construction equipment and building materials, architecture and engineering services, safety and security equipment, energy, water resources equipment, and travel and tourism.

Market Highlights will include: Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and Panama.

Central America is a growing market for U.S. companies seeking to expand their global presence where U.S. products and services enjoy high receptivity and are known for quality and innovation. Central America markets combined represent more than 53 million potential customers that import over $25 billion in U.S. products and services.

Webinar participants will have the opportunity to hear directly from U.S. diplomats, local government officials, subject matter experts, and resource partners and receive valuable input for crafting market entry strategies.

Your organization can participate in one, two or more webinars. The cost for each webinar is $30 and for the entire series only $120.

For questions regarding this program, please contact Isabel Davila at  

Doing Business in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the oldest continuous democracy in Latin America. In recent years, Costa Rica has achieved moderate economic growth (2.1 percent in 2019), though the impact of the global Covid 19 pandemic has affected economic expansion, with mid-2020 World Bank estimates that the economy will contract by about 3% in 2020. Costa Rica’s well-educated labor force; focus on English-language instruction; relatively low levels of corruption; geographic proximity to the United States and attractive free trade zone incentives offer strong appeal to many exporters and investors. In recent decades, the Costa Rican government has focused on attracting investment from relatively high-tech manufacturers, such as electronics and medical devices, as well as continued development of the dynamic tourism sector. The United States is Costa Rica’s largest trade and investment partner. Approximately half of all Foreign Direct Investment and 40% of all imports are of U.S. origin. There are no restrictions on capital flows in or out of Costa Rica nor on portfolio investment in publicly traded companies, but companies are subject to local taxes. Foreigners can own property with no title restrictions, although special care must be taken to comply with laws governing coastal areas. Best prospects for U.S. exporters include agriculture, automotive parts and accessories and service equipment, construction equipment, cosmetics, franchising, solar energy products, and education.

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Doing Business in Costa RicaSeptember 30, 2021
Deal Team/Advocacy in Central America

Doing Business in El Salvador

The United States is El Salvador’s main trading partner. Services trade with El Salvador in 2019 produced a surplus of USD $724 million. There are more than 345 U.S. companies with a presence in El Salvador, most as subsidiaries of U.S.-based companies.  U.S. companies exporting to El Salvador benefit from the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with zero percent duties on U.S. consumer and industrial goods.  Also, El Salvador has a dollarized economy, which eliminates foreign exchange risk and lowers transaction and financial costs. El Salvador is a highly receptive market for U.S. products and services. El Salvador’s economy is predominantly services-based. GDP From Agriculture in El Salvador in 2019 was USD $348 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Agriculture accounts for about 5% of GDP and employs 15.4% of the population. Manufacturing and industry accounts for 15% of GDP and employs 20% of the population. Prior to the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, the service sector in El Salvador accounted for almost 65% of the GDP and employed 58% of the population.  El Salvador’s economy remains heavily dependent on the United States.   Best export prospects: Automotive Parts and Service Equipment; Design and Construction; Energy, Information and Communications Technology; Education; Medical Equipment; Plastics, Safety and Security Equipment; Processed foods.

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Doing Business in El SalvadorOctober 21, 2021
Financing your Export deals in Central America

Doing Business in Honduras

Located in the geographic heart of Central America, Honduras has a democratic government and a free market economy. Exports to Honduras continue to perform well as it is the 44th largest export market for the United States in 2019 (0.3 percent of total U.S. exports). Total bilateral trade in both goods and services was $10.3 billion in 2019, with a trade surplus of approximately $616 million in favor of the United States. Honduras’ population of 9.3 million is highly receptive to U.S. goods and services. The United States is Honduras’ largest trade and economic partner, accounting for 46 percent of total merchandise imports and 65 percent of general assembly imports. U.S. exports to Honduras were $5.4 billion in 2019. Best prospect sectors for U.S. exporters include: Agriculture; Packaging Equipment & Machinery; Safety & Security; Education; and Automotive Aftermarket.

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Doing Business in HondurasNovember 18, 2021
Export Logistics in Central America

Doing Business in Guatemala

The United States and Guatemala enjoy a growing trade relationship, which became even stronger after implementation of the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). 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). The United States is Guatemala’s largest trading partner accounting for nearly 40 % of Guatemala’s trade. U.S. imports from Guatemala totaled $3.8 billion in 2020, a slight decrease from 2019. U.S. imports include edible fruits and nuts; knit apparel; coffee, tea, and spices; woven apparel; edible vegetables, roots, and tubers. U.S. products and services enjoy strong brand recognition in Guatemala, and U.S. firms have a good reputation in the Guatemalan marketplace. It is estimated that approximately over 200 U.S. firms have a presence in the market. U.S. merchandise exports to Guatemala were $5.8 billion in 2020. Best prospect sectors for U.S. exporters include Automotive Aftermarket and Accessories; Safety and Security Equipment; Travel and Tourism; Construction Equipment and Services; Agricultural Sector: Processed Food Products; and Education.

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Doing Business in GuatemalaDecember 16, 2021
Working with Developing Banks in the Region – IDB – World Bank

Doing Business in Belize

Belize’s location offers some advantages to U.S. businesses, including proximity to the United States, links with Central America and the Caribbean, easy air transportation, and short shipping routes to the United States. Additionally, Belize uses English as the official language, enabling U.S. businesses to conduct transactions without the aid of a translator. The country’s available arable land is well suited for agriculture, agri-business, and energy development. Opportunities exist in sustainable energy particularly in biomass, hydro, solar, electric vehicles, and waste-to-energy technologies. The Government continues to expend significant resources in road infrastructure development and in rebuilding the economy through support to the tourism and agriculture sectors. Many public works and economic recovery projects are being financed through grants from donors or borrowing from the regional and multilateral development banks. Best prospect sectors for U.S. exporters include agriculture and agro-processing, travel and tourism, energy, information and communications technology, and education.

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Doing Business in BelizeJanuary 6, 2022
E-commerce in Central America

Doing Business in Nicaragua

A democratic Nicaragua committed to transparency and rule of law would be well-poised to usher in an era of sustainable economic growth. A responsible government could draw foreign investment and unlock both public and private funding. Nicaragua enjoys significant economic resources: an ecologically diverse geography, making it a desirable tourist destination; a well-developed industry that produces and exports traditional commodities, including coffee, beef, sugar, and peanuts; reserves of gold and other valuable minerals; ready access to major shipping lanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; and a young labor force that supports the manufacturing and services sectors. Perhaps most importantly, Nicaragua has a highly organized and sophisticated private sector committed to a free economy that can fully leverage these resources if supported by a responsible government. Agricultural Exporters have successfully weathered the Pandemics and according to CETREX data experienced a growth of 6.33% in Exports to U. S.A. Retail of basic consumption items such as Food, personal electronics, and clothing could remain an opportunity, provided with a reliable Wholesale partner and Distribution channel. Best prospect sectors for U.S. exporters include Agrobusiness and Education.

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Doing Business in NicaraguaJanuary 20, 2022
Tools to help your company increase your export sales

Trade Mission to Central America and Business Conference

As part of the Biden Administration's Root Causes Strategy, which seeks increase and diversify trade between the United States and Central America, the United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration is organizing a trade mission to Central America (March 27-April 1, 2022) that will include the Trade Americas – Business Opportunities in Central America Conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala on March 27-April 1, 2022. 

The mission is open to U.S. companies from a cross section of industries with growing potential in Central America, but is focused on U.S. companies representing best prospects sectors such as Agriculture, Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Service Equipment, Construction Equipment and Services, Cosmetics, Cybersecurity, Design and Construction, Disposable Medical Supplies, Education and Training, Energy, Franchising, Information and Communications Technology, Medical Equipment, Packaging Equipment & Machinery, Plastics, Safety & Security, Solar Energy Products, Travel and Tourism.

Dates: March 27-April 1, 2022

For questions regarding this program, please contact

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Register your interest to receive a brief market assessment from the selected market.

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The Trade Americas Team of the U.S. Commercial Service is dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere, expanding market access, and increasing exports. To learn more about how you can receive assistance in finding market intelligence, developing your export strategy, connecting with international buyers, or support at trade events, contact your Local Trade Specialists in one of our 100 U.S. Export Assistance Centers around the U.S.