Economy, Foreign Trade
Central American Common Market, export of coffee, protectionist policies, trade deficit, value of exports
The export of coffee and bananas has been important to the Guatemalan economy since the early 1900s. More recently the economy has diversified substantially, and principal exports now are coffee, sugar, bananas, and cardamom. But other products are also important, including fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, processed foods, textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, cosmetics, rubber and paper products, beef, and petroleum. Exports totaled $2.6 billion in 2000. The United States is Guatemala’s principal market, taking one-third of its exports. Next in importance are El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Germany.
Guatemala’s principal imports are raw materials, automobiles, machinery, other manufactured goods, food, and petroleum. Imports come especially from the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, and Germany, and totaled $4.7 billion in 2000. Although Guatemala historically had favorable trade balances, in the 1990s it abandoned protectionist policies, and imports began exceeding the value of exports. The trade deficit has usually been offset by earnings from tourism, other services, and investments; consequently, Guatemala has generally had a favorable overall balance, which in 1994 totaled $11.9 million.
In addition to the Central American Common Market, Guatemala belongs to the World Trade Organization.
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