Guatemalan exports to Canada increased 52%
Starting on March 2020, a new paradigm for foreign trade in Guatemala and around the world took place, which affected reality as it was known until then. Guatemala is one of the country that adopted different measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including lockdown restrictions, quarantines, temporary closures of non-essential companies, teleworking, closing of air, sea and ground borders and suspension of international flights to safeguard the population and reduce the spread of the virus.
Despite its importance in terms of health, it created instability and negative speculation on the future of trade and local industries. Nevertheless, the reality in terms of exports has been different to what was expected.
As of March 2020, Guatemala registered exports for US$3,053 million, where non-traditional products represented 69.5% of total exports and traditional products being 30.5%. Despite the fact that the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the world started in March, Guatemalan exports registered an increase of US$238.3 million compared with March 2019. Products with the highest increases included cardamom (45.1%), sugar (17.6%) and iron and steel (22.7%).
In terms of destination markets, the ones that increased the most are the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh for cardamom; Canada, the United States and Ghana for sugar; and the Netherlands, Italy and Honduras for iron and steel.
North America, with US$1,182 million as of March 2020, represents the main destination continent, followed by the rest of Central America (US$945 million) and Asia (US$371 million). Asia is the region with the highest increase, registering 26.1% more exports compared with March 2019. This, due to higher exports of cardamom, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and nickel.
Lastly, it is important to notice that Guatemalan exports to Canada grew at an impressive rate of 52.2% in that period. Main products for this market include sugar, garments (t-shirts), black pepper and cardamom.