Guatemala’s Top Trading Partners

Guatemala's Top Trading Partners

Guatemala City

Guatemala shipped US$10.5 billion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 0.1% of overall global exports estimated at $15.862 trillion.

From a continental perspective, 41.4% of Guatemalan exports by value are delivered to North American countries while 29.8% are sold to Central American Common Market importers (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica). Guatemala ships another 9.7% worth of goods to European clients with 7.8% destined for Asia.

At 2.2%, a much smaller portion of Guatemalan exports were bought by African importers.

Guatemala’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Guatemala’s top trading partners. That is, these are the countries that imported the most Guatemalan shipments by dollar value during 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Guatemalan exports.

  1. United States: US$3.5 billion (33.6% of total Guatemalan exports)
  2. El Salvador: $1.2 billion (11.5%)
  3. Honduras: $913.9 million (8.7%)
  4. Nicaragua: $569.3 million (5.4%)
  5. Mexico: $458.5 million (4.4%)
  6. Costa Rica: $425.7 million (4.1%)
  7. Canada: $354.1 million (3.4%)
  8. Netherlands: $307.6 million (2.9%)
  9. Panama: $248.7 million (2.4%)
  10. Japan: $169.7 million (1.6%)
  11. Dominican Republic: $149.4 million (1.4%)
  12. Germany: $147.8 million (1.4%)
  13. Belgium: $127.9 million (1.2%)
  14. Italy: $124.9 million (1.2%)
  15. South Korea: $123.0 million (1.2%)

Over four-fifths (84.5%) of Guatemalan exports in 2016 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

The fastest increase among the top 15 importers for Guatemalan exporters belong to: Canada (up 221.3%), Belgium (up 186.3%), Netherlands (up 184.1%), Italy (up 126.9%), Nicaragua (up 102%) and Germany (up 101%).

The slowest gains belong to the United States (19.1%) and Mexico (up 8%).

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. During 2016, Guatemala posted an overall -$6.5 billion trade deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

In 2016, Guatemala incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. United States: -US$3 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2016)
  2. China: -$1.8 billion
  3. Mexico: -$1.5 billion
  4. Colombia: -$322.6 million
  5. Panama: -$317 million
  6. India: -$249.7 million
  7. South Korea: -$198.3 million
  8. Hong Kong: -$192.2 million
  9. Spain: -$190.8 million
  10. Brazil: -$179.1 million

Among Guatemala’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Guatemalan deficits with Hong Kong (up 658.3%), India (up 173.3%) and United States (up 147.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Guatemala’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Guatemala to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2016, Guatemala incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Honduras: US$582.3 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2016)
  2. Nicaragua: $448.6 million
  3. El Salvador: $301.5 million
  4. Canada: $263.4 million
  5. Netherlands: $213.5 million
  6. Dominican Republic: $127.8 million
  7. Belize: $64.9 million
  8. United Kingdom: $63.5 million
  9. Côte d’Ivoire: $62.4 million
  10. Haiti: $56.7 million

Among Guatemala’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Guatemalan surpluses with Côte d’Ivoire (up 164,018%), Canada (up 24,958%) and Haiti (up 591.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Guatemala’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Guatemala to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Guatemalan Trading Partners

Wikipedia lists exporters from Guatemala. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Corporación Multi Inversiones (agro-industrial conglomerate)
  • Malher (food, beverages)
  • Ron Zacapa Centenario (premium rum)
  • Trama Textiles (hand-made woven goods)
  • Claro Americas (telecommunications)


 
See also Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports and Most Valuable Guatemalan Export Products

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on October 25, 20176

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guatemala. Accessed on October 25, 2017