AGEXPORT keeps track of the economic impact of COVID-19 on Guatemala’s exporting sectors
AGEXPORT started a specific survey to gather direct information from its member companies to know their current status during the COVID-19 emergency and develop specific plans to support these companies to overcome the economic slowdown and join forces with the government authorities to fight for Guatemalans health while also retaining jobs and avoiding social unrest.
Since the start of this crisis, AGEXPORT has worked to become a key information platform for our members and help them to understand easily every policy that the government is putting in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. We are fully aware that these last weeks have been of strong impact for our companies and we looked to gather first-hand information on how strong these impacts have been. This data will help us to develop proposals to smoothen the negative economic effect of these measures. The longer these health measures continue, the stronger that the economic policies need to be, said Mr. Amador Carballido, AGEXPORT’s CEO.
As stated by Mr. Carballido, on March 27th, 2020, there were different industries that needed to stop operations completely, such as tourism. Flowers and ornamentals needed to stop as well, as global demand for these products dropped significantly.
Overall, all Guatemala’s exporting sectors identified six economic risks: failing to pay to suppliers, lack of availability of raw materials, not being able to pay salaries, having to consider dismissals and even temporarily having to close businesses.
We are awaiting official data from the Guatemalan Central Bank to evaluate the behavior of our exports during these emergency period; nevertheless, with our inner survey we have already identified a downward trend, higher in some sectors and lower in others. It is important to mention that, added to the measures announced by the Guatemalan government, we suggest other actions to boost the economy, such as regulating part-time labor, expediting tax returns and improving the country’s free zones framework to boost activities within these zones; said Mr. Carballido.
As well, Mr. Carballido also recognized the strong leadership of President Alejandro Giammattei and his Executive Cabinet, while also thanking everyone that is providing emergency services, including doctors, cleaning and security personnel, workers of the food industry and personal hygiene.
According to the Guatemalan Central Bank, the COVID-19 emergency would cost the Guatemalan GDP between 0.2% and 0.5% of its annual growth estimated for 2020.