The National Competitiveness Policy prioritizes 11 clusters that have the greatest capacity for growth, export and job creation.
Fruits and vegetables
Thanks to its favorable climate, Guatemala is one of the main export markets for agricultural products. This cluster represents about 38% of national agricultural production. The sector grows at an annual rate of 8% and employs more than two million people in the country. It mainly includes the production of fruits such as bananas and melons, as well as coffee, sugar and palm oil. More 40 countries buy agricultural products in Guatemala. The country is the fifth supplier of vegetables to the United States, actively participating with snow peas and tomatoes.
– Percentage of GDP in 2012: 6.3%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 123,000.
– Number of people employed 2021: 248,000.
– Markets: United States, Holland, England, Spain, Italy, France, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, among others.
In the processed food sector, the industry focuses on the production of edible fats and oils, cereal-based preparations, confectionery and preserves
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 11.8%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 75,000.
– Number of people employed in 2021: 185,000.
This cluster consists of edible fats and oils, cereal-based preparations, meat, fish, crustacean and mollusk preparations, fruit preparations, legume and vegetable preparations, sauces, condiments and compound seasonings.
Another important sector is the production of beverages, which are exported to more than 40 countries. It consists of the processing of purified water, carbonated and fruit-based beverages, ethyl alcohol, spirits and beer.
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 1.1% of GDP.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 18’000.
– People employed in 2021: 49,000.
– Markets: Central America, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the United States, among others.
The textile industry is the most important export sector in Guatemala. From 2002 to 2018, this cluster generated most of the foreign exchange for the country. Including 290 companies, this sector is one of the most important clusters in Central America, especially with exports to the US. This is because thanks to the closeness between the two countries, Guatemala can respond quickly to customer demands. Production includes clothing, fabrics and footwear. This sector can enjoy tax benefits without geographic location restrictions thanks to the Law for the Promotion of Export Activity and Maquila.- Percentage of GDP in 2018: 8.9%- Number of people employed in 2018: 140,000.
Forestry, Furniture, Maple and Rubber
The sector consists mainly of timber and non-timber products, paper, cardboard and rubber. In the last 10 years it has presented an average increase in its exports of 10% per year.
-Percentage of GDP 2018: 2.3%.
-Number of people employed in 2018: 102,000 people.
In the metalworking sector, companies are mainly engaged in the manufacture of ferro-alloys, tubes and hollow iron or steel profiles, as well as rolled products
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 1.1%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 32,000.
– Number of people employed in 2021: 58,000.
It consists of long metal products, drawn, flat, tubular and raw materials.
The main products are: ferroalloys, tubes and hollow profiles of iron or steel, constructions and their parts and rolled products made of iron or steel.
The light manufacturing sector produces sophisticated machinery, electronics and instruments. In addition, Guatemala has refrigerated equipment factories, plants that produce plastic, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, as well as medical equipment. With an average of almost 200’000 workers, it is the second sector that employs the most people after the textile sector.
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 19.11%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 70,000.
– Number of people employed in 2021: 126,000
Tourism is also considered an important part of the Guatemalan economy as it is the second sector by generation of foreign exchange in the country. In 2019, there was an increase in tourist arrivals of 6% and a growth rate of 10% is forecast for the coming years. In 2018 the number of tourists was 1.7 million, mainly from El Salvador (44%) and the United States (18%)
– Percentage of GDP in 2018 that comes directly from tourism: between 3.3% and 3.4%.
– Percentage of GDP in 2018 that comes from tourism together with indirectly affected sectors: 8.6%.
– Number of people employed in 2018 (directly and indirectly): 460,000
– Number of jobs 2021: 90,000.
Tic’s, Software and Contact Centers
This service sector is made up of three main subsectors: software and digital development, contact and call centers, and business process services.
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 3.2%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 22,000.
– Projection of people employed for 2021: 85,000
– Markets: Central America, Spain and the Caribbean, and increasingly in English for customers in Canada and the United States.
It is made up of two subsectors: 1) housing, 2) infrastructure. This sector positively affects other sectors of economic activity. This sector will continue to be very important with the growing urbanization of the population and the need for essential infrastructure in the country. Since 2010, the built area in Guatemala has more than tripled. Guatemala is predicted to need 5.6 million new housing units and 38,000 kilometers of new roads by 2032.
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 3.9%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 232,000.
– Projection of people employed for 2021: 318,000.
Transport and logistics
– Percentage of GDP in 2018: 2.5%.
– Number of people employed in 2018: 170,000.
– Projection of people employed for 2021: 209,000.
It focuses primarily on merchandise transportation. Guatemala has an advantage in this sector due to its proximity to North America and the Pacific.