Risks for the Apparel Maquila in Central America

A regional industry at risk: You can now add the reduction of US imports to the elimination of the Multi-fiber Agreement of a few years ago.

Monday, April 20, 2009


The apparel maquila is confronting a new challenge. The US recession has caused a contraction in clothing sales and hence a reduction in imports. Asian, Latin American, African and other regional producers are already embroiled in a fierce competition for the US market. It is a new challenge because it is adding to what the region faced some years ago following the abolition of the MFA, which enabled China to become the world’s gigantic "sewing machine."

The impact on employment and poverty in Central America could be considerable. Maquila is an intensive, low-skilled labor. Therefore, due to the drop in sales, worker dismissals are immediate and massive.

The present work of the Chief Economist of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, Dr. Pablo Rodas Martini, consists of three sections. First, he presents figures on apparel imports by the US and he discusses the performance of apparel exports from Central America to that market in recent years. Secondly, he shows recent statistics s on US imports and apparel sales. Thirdly, he reflects on the implications of this new challenge for the maquila sector in Central America.

Market Intelligence

Everything about apparel imports and exports in Central America.

Top companies - Quantities, amounts and prices.

more info

More on this topic

Nicaraguan Textiles Lead in Central America

July 2011

Between January and May sales grew by 25% compared to the same period in 2010.

The rise in sales to the U.S. was higher than to countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, which increased by 19%, 17% and 13% respectively in the same period.

With the 25% increase, Nicaraguan exports went up from $381.1 million to $476.7 million.

Guatemala, 5 Years after CAFTA-RD

June 2010

Exports have grown a mild 3.4%, with agricultural goods leading the way; Guatemala’s trade balance with the U.S. remains negative.

It is possible that the U.S economic crisis prevented the treaty from producing better results for Central American nations, but it is also probable that it helped soften the negative economic effects of said crisis.

Inspection Rather than Deposits for Maquilas

April 2012

Guatemala is preparing a plan to inspect factories in order to avoid a possible arbitration, forced by the US, for non-compliance of labor standards under CAFTA.

The Labour Ministry is preparing a program to inspect working conditions in the textile factories which could take six months to complete.

Koramsa to cut payroll in Guatemala

November 2008

The main textile company in the country will cut 4000 jobs in the next few months.

The most recent cuts began on Friday at the Korean American People, S.A. (Koramsa) factory, which was the the biggest in Central America 3 years ago; some 500 workers received payment settlements as a part of a larger cut of 4000 jobs.

 close (x)

Receive more news about Exports & imports

Suscribe FOR FREE to CentralAmericaDATA EXPRESS.
The most important news of Central America, every day.

Type in your e-mail address:

* Al suscribirse, estará aceptando los terminos y condiciones

Red de Negocios Centroamericana

Generates business opportunities by linking supply and demand of goods and services between Central America and the rest of the world.
Operates in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama
Phone: (506) 225 4786

Company Profile


Stock Indexes

(Oct 21)
Dow Jones
S&P 500


(Oct 21)
Brent Crude Oil
Coffee "C"