Exporting guide to Guatemala
CARIFORUM-UK economic partnership agreement
The UK has signed an association agreement with a number of Central American countries, including Guatemala. Read our latest updates for more information on the status of this agreement and how it may benefit your business.
Free trade zones
There is free trade zones available in the country, with different types of users.
Benefits include exemptions from taxes, customs duties and charges applicable to imports on merchandise that is used in the production of goods and in services.
Top five UK goods exported to Guatemala, in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022
|Specialised machinery (capital)||2.5|
|General industrial machinery (capital)||2.3|
Total import value (into the UK from Guatemala) and export value (from the UK into Guatemala) over time
|Year||Imports (£million)||Exports (£million)||Total trade (£million)|
ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: October 2022
Total trade is the sum of all exports and imports over the same time period.
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Guatemala.
Guatemala: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
Potential for UK industries can be found in a broad range of industries as British goods and services are highly regarded within the Guatemalan market.
Demand for UK goods
The demand for UK automotive goods has persisted over the years, with British automotive brands viewed as good quality, luxury brands that most Guatemalans aspire to buy (Secretary for Central American Economic Integration SIECA 2020).
Demand for new technologies
There is a demand for electric cars and electric-fuelled transportation. Ambitious public projects include a fleet of 30 electric buses and government vehicles for Guatemala City. 4 electric vehicle charging stations have been set up around Guatemala City for public use and an association in support of electric mobility in Guatemala has been launched.
Reform of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) law
Guatemala is in the process of reforming its PPP law. This was created in 2010, but only one project has been approved (2021). The reforms introduced to Congress in 2020 aim to create a better environment for the development of these type projects and include other sectors such as services, water management and education.
Demand for UK services
UK companies who can offer expertise in feasibility studies, planning, design, operations, and structuring in the mobility, energy and services sectors are wanted. Financial expertise to develop projects through Public-Private Partnerships is also welcomed.
Need for technology to increase exports capabilities
Guatemala is primarily an agricultural exporting country, and it requires a boost in exports to be able to promote economic growth. To achieve this, the country requires more efficient agricultural processes, aided by technology.
High purchasing power
In 2020, agriculture made up 10.2% of Guatemala’s GDP (World Bank), the third highest productive sector in the country. This sector is highly organised and supported by chambers of commerce, government, and international institutions, as it is an important source of jobs for a large group of the population. The importance of agriculture in the country has given companies the necessary purchasing power to invest in production, technology, and insurance.
Growing business process outsourcing and contact centres sector
The contact centres and BPOs industry is identified as one of the industries with the greatest employment generation potential for Guatemala, due to the growth of outsourcing services worldwide, the potential that the country has due to its geographic and demographic characteristics, and growth capacity of the companies that operate in this sector. Exports for the sector has grown 34% between 2020, USD 874 million, and 2021 to USD 1.2 billion. This sector represented almost 1% of country’s GDP in 2020 (Agexport 2021).
Demand for English Language skills
Contact centres and BPO’s sector employs 105,000 indirect jobs and around 42,000 agents and 67% of this force must be bilingual (Agexport 2019). The government and private sector are looking for solutions to improve English skills in the labour force to open more job opportunities. UK expertise on English Language training would be welcomed.