The Country Commercial Guide provides a useful starting point for U.S. businesses pursuing export and investment opportunities in Honduras.
- Bilateral Trade: The United States is Honduras’ largest trade and economic partner. U.S. exports to Honduras were $5.7 billion in 2012 and are on pace to double by 2014 as targeted in the National Export Initiative. The entry into force of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in 2006 boosted U.S. export opportunities and diversified the composition of bilateral trade. CAFTA-DR also put in place important disciplines related to investment, customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, intellectual property rights, transparency, and labor and environmental protection. About 80 percent of U.S. goods now enter the region duty-free, with tariffs on the remaining 20 percent to be phased out by 2016.
- Key Economic Indicators: Honduras, with an estimated per capita GDP of $2,192 in 2012, is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Over 66 percent of the population lives in poverty. Moderate economic growth returned in 2010-2012 after a sharp decline in 2009 that had occurred due to the effects of the global economic downturn and Honduras’ domestic political crisis. GDP increased by 3.3 percent in 2012 and the rate of inflation was 5.7 percent. The Honduran currency, the lempira, has floated since 2011; it depreciated by 4.8 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2012. Foreign direct investment and domestic investment declined in 2009 but has recovered. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Honduras was $930 million in 2011, concentrated in the manufacturing sector. More than 150 American companies are currently operating in Honduras.
- Political Climate: Honduras is scheduled to hold national elections in November 2013. The current President, Porfirio Lobo, is limited to one four-year term and cannot run for reelection. Voters will select a new president and all 128 members (diputados) of a unicameral Congress, which will take office in January 2014.
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