Exporting guide to

Nicaragua

Overview

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Its sustained economic growth and qualified labour force attracts foreign investment. Nicaragua’s main industries include agriculture and tourism.

Trade statistics

£6.0 million total UK exports to Nicaragua for the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

205th largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

less than 0.1% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: January 2024)

Increasingly globalised country

In recent years, Nicaragua has joined regional, multilateral and bilateral agreements, showing a clear interest in globalisation. The country is currently part of the Central American Common Market (MCCA) and has also established free trade agreements with several countries.

UK-Central America association agreement

The UK has signed the UK-Central America association agreement which includes Nicaragua.
Find out more about the status of the association agreement and how it may benefit your business.

Top five UK goods exported to Nicaragua , in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

Goods Value (£ )
Scientific instruments (capital) 690000.0
Miscellaneous metal manufactures 680000.0
General industrial machinery (capital) 430000.0
Other chemicals 340000.0
General industrial machinery (intermediate) 320000.0

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: February 2024
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: at a glance

Economic growth

3.8%

Actual figure (IMF, 2022)
The UK is 4.1% (IMF, 2022, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$1,952

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is $40,347 (IMF, 2020, actual figure)

Currency

Nicaraguan Córdoba

Business languages

Spanish

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT - 6

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Nicaragua have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Nicaragua

Preparing to export

Taxation

There is no double taxation agreement between the United Kingdom and Nicaragua.

VAT

When performed within Nicaragua, there are several transactions that are subject to VAT. A 15% rate is imposed on the sale of goods, grant of use of assets, rendering of services, and import of goods.

In the case of the exports of goods and services, they are exempt (0% interest rate).

VAT exemptions are available for certain items including medicine, basic food products, the sale of used goods, real estate transfer, credit instruments, tuition, and educational supplies such as textbooks.

Operating in Nicaragua

Risks

Challenges to doing business in Nicaragua include:

  • reputational risk
  • inadequate rule of law
  • political instability

Read the overseas business risk for Nicaragua for more guidance.

Using agents and distributors

You are advised to use a representative, distributor, or commission agent with a commercial licence. Securing exclusivity for a buying agent can be hard due to the competitive conditions of the market.

You must have a local counterpart or direct presence to participate in any Nicaraguan government procurement bidding processes.

Language

The national language in Nicaragua is Spanish. English is spoken by some people in government and business but it is not universally spoken.

Most business documentation must be completed in Spanish.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage, and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés based in key UK export markets.

Next steps

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