The light manufacturing industry is an important economic engine and one of the most dynamic sectors of Nicaragua’s economy. Manufactured products account for 43.6 percent of the country's total exports by 2017. Additionally, the manufacturing of goods has come a long way in diversifying its processes, becoming gradually more sophisticated.
Manufacturing Industry Numbers
14.18% of GDP
US$2.26 billion exported in 2017
110 companies operating under the Free Zones System to date
166,000 jobs to date
Main Manufacturing Goods Exported
Manufacturing Companies in Nicaragua
- For its levels of citizen security
- For its operational costs
- For its connectivity and market access
- For its legal guarantees for investments
- For its human talent
- For its incentives for investments
- For its business climate
- For its quality of life
Automotive Components Manufacturing
Nicaragua's light manufacturing industry has grown to include higher value-added operations, such as the manufacture of automotive components. The exports of automotive harnesses of Nicaragua have grown 25% percent in the period 2012-2017, becoming one of the most important activities within the system of free zones of the country. Automotive Harnesses are one of the main export products, representing 11% of the total exports of the country. Additionally, there is a wide variety of investment opportunities related to the manufacture of automotive parts in Nicaragua, such as carpets, linings for seats, interiors, among others.
Two of the largest manufacturers of auto wire harnesses in the world –Yazaki from Japan and Dräxlmaier from Germany have established successful operations in Nicaragua, supplying world-renowned brands such as Chrysler, Ford, BMW and Volkswagen.
Nicaragua is emerging as a very attractive platform for footwear manufacturing operations. Currently, the country exports leather footwear, synthetic sandals, rubber boots and industrial footwear. The main export markets are currently the United States, the European Union, Costa Rica and Panama.
An important niche where Nicaragua is particularly competitive is manufacturing of leather footwear and its export to the US market, since it has a flexibility benefit from DR-CAFTA. This benefit allows the usage of non-originary raw materials and applies for the HTS code 64.03.
Medical Devices Manufacturing
The production of disposable medical devices shows a continuous growth in our country, evidenced by the expansion of manufacturing companies such as Command Medical and Medisut, which specialize in the production of needles, catheters, cannulas and general surgical devices. The magnitude of the market in disposable surgical products and articles as explained under tariff code 9018 shows that Nicaragua has a consistent production capacity for its competitive labor force and the ability to access the world's most important markets.
Other Light Manufacturing Processes
Additionally, Nicaragua has become an attractive destination for endless other manufacturing operations ranging from furniture manufacturing to assembly of medical devices and appliances.
Nicaragua’s Official Investment Promotion Agency stands ready to support you and your business. Schedule an appointment with one of our Light Manufacturing investment advisors: