Guatemala is open up for business and attracts investment

The management of President Alejandro Giammatti is focusing his artillery on the expansion of trade opportunities, promoting the Central American Customs Union as a priority to take Guatemala to a more competitive zone. Our country has become a great opportunity for business and investment.

After one of the biggest economic crises, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Latin America plummeted last year -7.7%, according to the report of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

It was one of the most negative results in decades and, consequently, thousands of companies out of different businesses had to close, especially in areas such as tourism and services. In the midst of this uncertain outlook, some countries in the region are showing positive signs of economic recovery.

Lisa Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga emphasizes that Guatemala is one of them, which -through the implementation of assertive macroeconomic and social policy measures- has managed to come out better off than its neighbors in the region. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just described as “favorable” the prospects for the economy of the Central American country, which allows it to promote its plans to open the Guatemalan nation for business again.

Part of the explanation for Guatemala’s result lies in the country’s response to the pandemic, according to the multilateral organization. The Guatemalan authorities quickly mobilized financing to strengthen the capacity of the health system and sustain the income of the most vulnerable businesses and households. 

This response has allowed Guatemala to be above nations of the continent with very different levels of development, such as Chile, Panama, Bolivia, the United States, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, according to the global ranking management of the pandemic of the Lowy Institute of Australia.

Economy of Guatemala for business

The Guatemalan GDP suffered a moderate contraction of -1.5% in the pandemic year, which, unlike other countries, contained the damage to economic structures. And according to IMF estimates, this year it could reach growth of 4.5%, which would mean the long-awaited “V-rebound” that the finance ministries of all nations want to see.

If this forecast materializes, Guatemala would be one of the few countries in the region that would have its economy at higher levels than at the end of 2019. Other indicators that speak of the resilience of Guatemala and its economy is the Monthly Index of Economic Activity, which in May 2020 fell to -12 points and a year later it is at 3.5 points.

The reopening is being gradual and planned, while the country faces the great challenge of not trusting itself too much to avoid a new cycle of infections, as has happened in neighboring countries. However, so far, the balance achieved serves as a basis for planning a more stable 2021.

In conclusion, Guatemala “is well positioned to support the recovery in business,” and the Giammatti government wants to take advantage of this wind in favor to make the nation a safe and attractive destination for investment, through legal mechanisms and the implementation of macroeconomic policies aimed at trade liberalization. “We want to attract investment, look for new markets and make companies grow, mainly small and medium-sized ones,” the Guatemalan government has said. The conditions are given.

Carla Fowler

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