The Guatemalan food and beverage sector promotes commercial momentum in the Sica area

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The Guatemalan food and beverage sector promotes commercial momentum in the Sica area

Guatemala — The sustained growth of exports that some countries of the Sica zone (Central American Integration System) have reflected like El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and the potential shown by Belize, Panama and the Dominican Republic are the two speeds at which the Guatemalan food and beverage sector seeks to turbocharge.

The above is due to the region became the main destination for exports from this industry during the past year.

For example, in the second semester of 2021 an amount of US$1,130.1 million was exported, that is, about Q8,475.75 million Compared to the first half of that same year, it exceeded exports by 28% when it reached an amount of US$904 million, and 70 destinations were reached, said Gregorio Osuna, president of the Guatemalan Chamber of Food and Beverages (CGAB). , during the presentation of the second economic report.

In the case of imports to Guatemala, Costa Rica grew 9% last year, but other countries such as El Salvador and Nicaragua grew in double figures, 22% on average.

However, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Belize are also growing, therefore, It is an issue that we observe at two speeds: “the speed of Central America in its integration and that of the other countries that are not integration, but are a Sica zone, and that exchange should be further promoted,” explained Enrique Lacs, executive director of CGAB to Bloomberg Line.

Importance of the Sica region

49% of the total exports of the Food and Beverage sector went to the countries of the Sica region. Mexico follows with 11%, the United States 8% and the rest went to different destinations in the world.

Last year, exports to that region grew by 21%; and among the 10 products most demanded by these countries, a growth of 25% was observed.

Number Product description Export in millions of US$
one Biscuit or bakery products 89.3
two Refined palm oil 83.1
3 other drinks 75.3
4 prepared sauces 57.2
5 Carbonated / sugar waters 52.6
6 Preparations for soups 47.1
7 Other sweet cookies 44.7
8 unrefined palm oil 42.4
9 confectionery 38.2
10 Ice creams 38.1

On the other hand, 35.1% of products were imported from this area during 2021.

speed up potential

All countries in the Sica region requested a higher demand for products from the sector compared to 2020, except for Belize, which remained unchanged.

Enrique Lacs, executive director of the CGAB, stated that In the case of Belize, there is significant potential because only 7% of the exports that go to that country are from the food and beverage sector.

“Advancing in trade facilitation and observing compliance with the regulations that link Guatemala with other countries through trade agreements are key. Besides, It is a great opportunity for the member countries of the Sica zone to achieve greater trade integration”Lacs said.

José Eduardo Alpuche, Ambassador of Belize in Guatemala commented that, an expansion of the Trade Agreement is currently being negotiated to increase the number of products and the value of trade between the two countries.

The Ministries of Economy of both countries have held several rounds of negotiations with lists of approximately 82 and 100 products.

“It would be interesting if Guatemala could invest in Belize to export to Caricom and Yucatan in Mexico, because we are members of the Caricom economy and this expands the market to 18 million consumers, therefore, an agreement is being negotiated with Mexico to open the markets of Quintana Roo and Yucatan”, explained the diplomat.

Alpuche extended to Bloomberg Line that there are no limits on investment issues, because everything that Guatemala produces can be sent to Caricom from Belize and through a rule of origin it can be exported without taxes as part of that common market, therefore, it would be a great advantage for investors, said the ambassador.

Customs congestion in Costa Rica

Due to the hacking of information that Costa Rica suffered earlier this week, it caused long lines of congestion at its land customs and several Guatemalan containers were affected by this situation.

Lacs told Bloomberg Line that the Costa Rican government implemented a contingency measure and decided to use the Sica platform so that the Ducas could be broadcast.

“We hope that the passage will be released, because the authorized measures are already in place and all the people who make transit can now start doing their paperwork,” the executive stressed.

Guatemala maintains an important commercial exchange with Costa Rica and is one of the main suppliers of the region.

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