Dates: June 21-26, 2015
Venue:
Guatemala City, Guatemala
With potential visits to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize

The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service is organizing a trade mission to Central America, in conjunction with the Trade Americas - Opportunities in Central America Conference in Guatemala. Trade mission participants will be able to take part in the conference and have business-to-business meetings in up to two of the following countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and/or Belize.

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 in best prospects sectors such as safety and security equipment; automotive parts/service equipment; food processing & packing equipment; renewable energy technologies, and hotel and restaurant equipment.

The combination of the Trade Americas - Opportunities in Central America Conference and business-to-business matchmaking opportunities in Guatemala and one of the other optional Central American countries will provide participants with access to substantive information about and strategies for entering or expanding their business across the Central America region.

Registration for the Trade Mission closed April 10, 2015.

To register for the conference only, please use this form.

To learn about Conference and Trade Mission activities, access the Program Agenda.

Why Central America?

Commercial Setting

The mission supports the federal government’s Look South initiative, which encourages U.S. companies to explore opportunities in the United States’ 11 free trade agreement partner (FTA) countries in Latin America. The FTA in the region, CAFTA-DR, includes the following five Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. As a result of this FTA, 100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods exports to the CAFTA-DR countries will no longer be subject to tariffs by 2015. The CAFTA-DR region was the 14th largest U.S. export market in the world in 2013, and the third largest in Latin America behind Mexico and Brazil. The United States exported $29.5 billion in goods to the Central American countries.

Guatemala:
The United States and Guatemala enjoy a strong and growing trade relationship, especially under the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The United States is Guatemala’s largest trading partner accounting for nearly 40 percent of Guatemala’s trade. U.S. products and services enjoy strong name recognition in Guatemala, and U.S. firms have a good reputation in the Guatemalan marketplace.

U.S. exports to Guatemala U.S. goods exports to Guatemala in 2013 were $5.5 billion, 95 percent higher than the level in 2005, the year before CAFTA-DR entered into force. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Automotive Accessories, Auto Parts and Service Equipment; Security and Safety Equipment; Travel and Tourism; Petroleum Products; and Forestry and Woodworking Machinery.

Costa Rica:
The United States is Costa Rica’s main trading partner, accounting for about 47 percent of Costa Rica’s total imports. U.S. products enjoy an excellent reputation for quality and price-competitiveness. Proximity to the Costa Rican market is also a major advantage for U.S. exporters who wish to visit or communicate with potential customers, facilitating close contacts and strong relationships with clients, both before and after the sale. U.S. goods exports to Costa Rica in 2013 were $7.2 billion. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Automotive Parts; Accessories and Service Equipment; Construction Equipment; Travel and Tourism; Cosmetics; Franchising; and Solar Energy Products.

El Salvador:
The United States is El Salvador’s leading trade partner. El Salvador offers an open market for U.S. goods and services. Tariffs are relatively low, and were reduced further with the implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The value-added tax (VAT) rate in El Salvador is 13 percent. El Salvador’s strategic location in Central America makes it a good platform for industrial and service investments aimed at re-exports. U.S. goods exports to El Salvador in 2013 were $3.3 billion. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Automotive Parts and Service Equipment; Construction; Franchising; and Travel and Tourism.

Honduras:
The United States is the chief trading partner for Honduras, supplying 46.2 percent of Honduran imports. Located in the heart of Central America, Honduras is the second largest country in the region. Its deep-water port, Puerto Cortés, is the first port in Latin America to qualify under both the Megaports and Container Security Initiatives (CSI), which now facilitate the screening of approximately 90 percent of transatlantic and transpacific cargo prior to importation into the United States. U.S. goods exports to Honduras in 2013 were $5.4 billion. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Automotive Parts/Service Equipment; Food Processing and Packaging Equipment; Franchising; Safety and Security Equipment; and Travel & Tourism Services.

Belize:
U.S. remained Belize’s principal trading partner. Belize is a consumer nation and relies heavily on imports.  The United States provided over 44 percent of total Belizean merchandise imports in 2012. U.S. goods exports to Belize in 2013 were $241.2 million. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Travel and Tourism; Agriculture and Agribusiness; Petroleum; Information Communication Technology and Renewable Energy and Green Technology.

Nicaragua:
The United States is Nicaragua's largest trading partner, the source of roughly a quarter of Nicaragua's imports and the destination for approximately two-thirds of its exports (including free zone exports). U.S. exports to Nicaragua totaled $1.1 billion in 2013. The leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are: Renewable Energy Technology; Food Processing and Packaging Equipment; Hotel and Restaurant Equipment; Medical and Dental Equipment; Building Products/Construction Equipment; and Plastics.

The foregoing analysis of export opportunities in Central America is not intended to be exhaustive, but illustrative of the many opportunities available to U.S. businesses. Applications from U.S. companies will be considered and evaluated by the U.S. Department of Commerce on their market potential in the region.

Expenses for travel, lodging, most meals, and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant.

2015 Trade Americas - Opportunities in Central America Region Conference

The Department of Commerce’s Trade Americas - Opportunities in Central America Region Conference will focus on regional and industry-specific sessions, market entry strategies, logistics and trade financing resources as well as pre-arranged one-one-one consultations with US&FCS Commercial Officers and/or Department of State Economic/Commercial Officers with expertise in commercial markets throughout the region.

To register for the conference only, please use this form.

Date: June 22, 2015
Venue:
Real InterContinental Guatemala - Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Cost:
$400

Expenses for travel, lodging, most meals, and incidentals (e.g., local transportation, interpreters) will be the responsibility of each participant.

For more information, contact Jessica Gordon at Jessica.Gordon@trade.gov or by phone at 601-373-0784.

Meet Our Marketing Partners!

The elite group of companies soon to be listed below is contributing to the success of the Central America Business Development Trade Mission.

Gold Marketing Partners ------------------------------------------------

Silver Marketing Partners ------------------------------------------------



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