From 2021 to 2022, the value of Guatemala’s worldwide exports increased by 16.3% compared to $13.6 billion.
Guatemala’s 5 Most Valuable International Customers
The top 5 most valuable importers for products that Guatemala exported during 2022 are the United States of America, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. Combined, that quintet of major Guatemalan trade partners generated about two-thirds (66%) of Guatemala’s export revenues.
Applying a continental lens, 42.2% of Guatemala’s exports by value was delivered to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean countries while 37.9% was sold to importers in North America. Guatemala shipped another 10.5% worth of products to Europe with 8.1% going to Asia.
Smaller percentages went to buyers in Africa (1.2%), and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Guatemala’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Guatemala’s top trading partners. That is, these are the countries that imported the most Guatemalan shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Guatemalan exports.
- United States: US$5.1 billion (32.3% of total Guatemalan exports)
- El Salvador: $2 billion (13%)
- Honduras: $1.6 billion (10%)
- Nicaragua: $998.2 million (6.3%)
- Mexico: $692.8 million (4.4%)
- Netherlands: $665 million (4.2%)
- Costa Rica: $635.5 million (4%)
- mainland China: $427.1 million (2.7%)
- Panama: $308.8 million (2%)
- Spain: $301.3 million (1.9%)
- Dominican Republic: $265.3 million (1.7%)
- Italy: $198.4 million (1.3%)
- Canada: $193 million (1.2%)
- South Korea: $157.6 million (1%)
- Japan: $151.6 million (1%)
- Belize: $148.4 million (0.9%)
- Chile: $132.9 million (0.8%)
- Germany: $122.2 million (0.8%)
- Taiwan: $112.7 million (0.7%)
- Colombia: $109.8 million (0.7%)
- Saudi Arabia: $109.3 million (0.7%)
- Belgium: $107.5 million (0.7%)
- Ecuador: $98 million (0.6%)
- Peru: $96.7 million (0.6%)
- United Kingdom: $90.7 million (0.6%)
By value, well over nine-tenths (94%) of Guatemalan exports in 2022 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
The fastest increases among the listed importers for Guatemala’s exports belong to: Colombia (up 89.7% from 2021), Peru (up 87.8%), South Korea (up 74.4%), Taiwan (up 65.7%), Netherlands (up 64.9%), then Chile (up 47.5%).
There was a pair of double-digit percentage decliners, namely buyer in Italy (down -32.1% from 2021) and Saudi Arabia (down -30.6%).
Countries Causing Guatemala’s Largest Trade Deficits
Guatemala incurred a total -US$16.3 billion trade deficit during 2022, expanding by 25.2% from the -$13 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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 2022, Guatemala posted an overall -$7.4 billion trade deficit expanding from the -$6.5 billion in red ink for 2016.
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.
Guatemala incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- mainland China: -US$5.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- United States of America: -$5.2 billion
- Mexico: -$2.6 billion
- Brazil: -$719.4 million
- India: -$676.9 million
- Colombia: -$547.9 million
- Japan: -$542.1 million
- Vietnam: -$473.7 million
- Germany: -$395.4 million
- Argentina: -$393 million
Among Guatemala’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Guatemalan deficits with Japan (up 127.7%), Brazil (up 94.7%) and Germany (up 88.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
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.
Countries Driving Guatemala’s Best 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.
Guatemala incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- El Salvador: US$1 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- Honduras: $968 million
- Nicaragua: $765.9 million
- Netherlands: $539.5 million
- Dominican Republic: $217.9 million
- Panama: $164 million
- Belize: $137.2 million
- Mauritania: $78.8 million
- United Arab Emirates: $53.5 million
- Jamaica: $51.4 million
Among Guatemala’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Guatemalan surpluses with Mauritania (up 939.9%), El Salvador (up 158.6%) and Netherlands (up 124.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
In addition, Guatemala transitioned from recording a -$405.4 million deficit trading with Panama to posting the trade surplus listed above.
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 Servicing Guatemalan Trading Partners
Wikipedia lists exporters from Guatemala. Selected examples are shown below:
- Claro Americas (telecommunications)
- Corporación Multi Inversiones (agro-industrial conglomerate)
- Malher (food, beverages)
- Ron Zacapa Centenario (premium rum)
- Trama Textiles (hand-made woven goods)
See also Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, El Salvador’s Top 10 Exports and Belize’s Top 10 Exports, Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports and Cuba’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on June 2, 2023
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on June 2, 2023
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on June 2, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guatemala. Accessed on June 2, 2023