Published by PRONicaragua

To achieve better integration with the world, Nicaragua has been actively involved in multilateral, regional and bilateral negotiations for the export of its products. As a result, the country has signed preferential agreements with various international markets that have been of great benefit to the country's economy.

The main objectives of these agreements are to stimulate the expansion and diversification of trade between the parties, eliminate obstacles to trade and facilitate the cross-border movement of goods, promote conditions of fair competition, and increase investment opportunities in our country. In Nicaragua, the institution in charge of the administration and negotiation of these agreements is the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (MIFIC, for its acronym in Spanish).

Nicaragua's main trading partner and export destination is the United States, followed by Central America, the European Union, and some Asian countries. However, the country has a wide variety of agreements with various countries in the world that grant it preferential access to an international market of 1.5 billion consumers in total, as detailed in the following table:

List of agreements

Free Trade Agreements

United States, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and European Union.

Central American Common Market

Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Additionally, free movement of capital, services, and human resources among CA-4 countries.

Generalized System of Preferences

Japan, Norway, Canada, Russia, and Switzerland.

ALBA Agreement

Venezuela, Nicaragua, Granada, Cuba, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vicente and the Grenadines. Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname.

Agreements under Negotiation

Canada, CARICOM, ALADI, United Kingdom.

                          Source: Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade (MIFIC).

The preferential access that these agreements grant to products made in Nicaragua have contributed to the stable growth of the country's exports: around 5 percent year-on-year growth. In 2019, total exports reached an amount of US$5.6 billion, which in turn represented 44.7 percent of the GDP in this same year; this shows the significant contribution and direct impact that exports have on the country's economy.

Currently, Nicaragua’s most exported products are textiles and clothing, beef, automotive harnesses, gold, coffee, fish and shellfish, cigars and tobacco, sugar, dairy products and peanuts.

On the other hand, according to the World Bank, Nicaragua has the lowest export costs in Central America, which, added to the country's privileged geographical location and the different benefits it offers to exporting companies such as the Free Trade Zone Regime, make Nicaragua a very attractive platform for export-oriented investments.

Without a doubt, the establishment of these preferential access agreements with key markets has played a crucial role in the process of integration and economic competitiveness in Nicaragua. However, the country continues to look for new opportunities to remain its successful insertion into international trade and the global economy.