Guatemala generated nearly 1 billion US dollars in foreign exchange last year, and signed a free trade agreement in South Korea to enhance its international status.
Recently, the president of the Guatemalan National Coffee Association (Anacaf é) said that 2023 is the second year in a row that Guatemalan coffee exports have performed well in terms of foreign exchange earnings, and the prospects for 2024 are expected to remain good.
In the 2022-2023 coffee year, 3.9 million cwt of Guatemalan gold coffee (caf é oro) was shipped overseas, earning $944 million, according to official figures. Among the total exports of Guatemala in 2023, coffee ranked second in foreign exchange earnings and ranked first in agricultural exports.
According to Anacaf é, 49% of Guatemala's coffee is sold to North America, 26% to Asia, 22% to Europe and 3% to other parts of the world. The United States is the largest exporter of Guatemalan coffee, accounting for 41 percent of exports to the United States. It is mainly in Guatemala high-altitude coffee beans are high-quality products in the industry, in addition, Guatemalan countries are close to the United States and can have a price advantage in competition with products from Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand.
However, in the coffee year 2021-2022, coffee exports earned 1.136 billion US dollars. By contrast, foreign exchange earnings from coffee exports declined from 2022 to 2023. This is mainly because the sales price of coffee changes from year to year, and the international price of coffee fell sharply from 2022 to 2023, coupled with the decline in production caused by the El Ni ñ o phenomenon, resulting in a decrease in exports.
Recently, Guatemala and South Korea signed a free trade agreement and joined the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between South Korea and Central American countries. The agreement has been signed with five Central American countries, namely, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. The signing with Guatemala comes three years after the full implementation of the free trade agreement in March 2021. It also brings new advantages to Guatemala's coffee export industry.
South Korea mainly exports cars, fiber and petrochemicals to Guatemala, while Guatemala mainly exports agricultural products to South Korea, including coffee and bananas, as well as minerals such as nickel and carbon. The president of the Guatemalan National Coffee Association said that the agreement on free trade with South Korea would help enhance the competitiveness of Guatemalan coffee and its sales in the international market, and consolidate the position of Guatemalan coffee. It is also predicted that coffee production will reach 4 million piculs through active sustainable profit programs in the coffee year 2023-2024, and will generally increase in the coming years.
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