Doing Business in Guatemala

Business and Economic Overview

Guatemala’s economic growth has remained fairly consistent over the last five years, and real GDP growth is forecast between 3.4% and 4% annually over the next five years, totalling GDP growth of roughly US$5 billion per year. 

Agricultural products, foodstuffs and textiles are the three largest sectors of the export economy, accounting for almost 60% of exports, whilst Guatemala’s primary imports are machinery as well as chemical and mineral products.

Foreign investors receive treatment comparable to domestic investors and there are few sector-specific restrictions on foreign investment. Guatemala is ranked 97 of 190 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and 139 of 190 in the World Bank’s Starting a Business Index. Major obstacles to doing business are corruption, transparency issues, violent crime and a weak judiciary.

Nevertheless, Guatemala has a number of free trade agreements, notably with the US and EU, as well as economic support from the US and multilateral lenders. Guatemala also has strong links to both Central and North America and a large number of business people are fluent in English.

Opportunities for investment and business exist in a number of sectors. Given the large agricultural export economy demand for modern machinery remains high; Guatemala has potential for a strong mining sector; there is scope for the hydroelectric and geothermal energy infrastructure projects and a number of opportunities in the tourism sector, driven by Guatemala’s cultural history.

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