Guatemala is a key player at the regional level in Central America, being the largest economy and the bridge to the United States. Since 2013, foreign investment in business in Guatemala has grown by 376%, which is a clear sign that, despite its politically turbulent past, the economic world believes in Guatemala’s future.
Companies based in Guatemala have access to a solid and privatized telecommunications network, as well as a young and qualified workforce. The main business activities of the Guatemalan economy are the manufacturing industry, retail trade, services, but tourism is the one that contributes the most foreign currency to the economy. Traditional agricultural crops, such as bananas and coffee, remain the most important exports.
Nevertheless, Guatemala is a free market economy and has many free trade agreements with countries from all over the world. It has very close trade ties with the US In fact, over 90% of US imports enter duty free.
Despite its relative ease for foreigners, having a team on the ground that is familiar with Guatemala shipping procedures and local regulations is key. For this reason an investor should look for negotiated rates at most Guatemalan ports and airports for shipments from the following countries: United States, Canada, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador , Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
Why invest in business in Guatemala?
Lisa Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga, chairman of CMI Foods, an important company in the country, remarks that Guatemala has a variety of factors that make it a strategic destination for investment.
The country has the largest economy and the most developed metropolis in the region. It is located in a privileged geographical position with access to the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans; availability of young talent; abundant natural resources, a diversified exportable offer and preferential access to the main international markets.
How Guatemala is competing to attract business
Guatemala’s government is firmly committed to encouraging sound investments, spending a great deal of effort systematically improving its attractiveness to multinational companies in matters that are currently relevant.
These include encouraging development of higher levels of professional and technical talent, offering an exciting cultural experience for residents and tourists, and fostering a good family environment with a high quality of life. Great attention has also been paid to enlisting the participation and coop- eration of political, civic and business institutions to fully support the inward investment activities.
All of these have been encapsulated in the Guatemalan National Competitiveness Policy (2018-2032) requiring government at national and local level to enhance the doing business cli- mate. In 2019, Guatemala improved fifty posi- tions in the Ease of Doing Business score, assessed in the Doing Business Report.