Nicaragua: Free Zones are No Longer Just for Textile Companies

Although clothing and car wiring harnesses continue to lead, the number of types of goods exported under the free zone regime has gone from ten in 2008 to 20 today.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Production and export of clothing and wiring harnesses are still the main goods produced and exported under free trade zone conditions, but now others have been added such as as cigars, edible oil, fruits, leather shoes, paper, cardboard, and manufactured leather covers for furniture.

Diversification in the types of companies and products manufactured in free zones has resulted in an increase in exports.  While in 2008 the regime had sales abroad worth just over $1 billion, at the end of 2015 the figure exceeded $2.4 billion. Of this amount, 57% corresponds to clothing, lower than the 2008 figure, when sales of this product accounted for 67% of total exports from free zones. reports that "...Another variant where free zones have seen diversification is that in 2008 of the total exports 67.1% went to the United States, followed by the Mexican market with a 16.8% share, followed by Honduras, which received 3% of shipments. During the first half of 2016 these figures showed that the Mexican market increased its share, rising to 26.4%, while the US maintained the greatest share, but the volume of shipments declined to 59.9% of total exports of the sector."

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Nicaragua: Exports of Wire Harnesses up 22%

November 2016

Between January and September the value of exports amounted to $509 million, registering an increase of 22% compared to the same period in 2015 and 29% in volume.

The monthly report by the Ministry of Foreign Trade specifies that the export of harnesses represented 14% of total exports from Nicaragua during the first nine months of the year.

Nicaragua: State of the Free Trade Zone Regime

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173 companies operating in 48 industrial parks using the free zone format, in three years increased the total number of square meters used by 33%.

An estimated $300 million has been invested between January and November 2015 by companies operating under the free zone incentive scheme, which are focused on the textile industry mainly in the manufacture of harnesses, production of tobacco and more recently, services such as call centers.

Nicaragua: Manufacturing Decelerates

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Falls in sales of textiles, machinery and transport equipment accounted for the 6% annual contraction in manufacturing activity in May this year.

In the case of textiles, a reducicón of 8.7% in industrial production in May is attributed to lower production of knitted or crocheted fabrics, clothing and leather production.

More and More Free Zones in Nicaragua

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With a record $2.207 billion in exports last year in 2012, the nation aims to continue growing its free zone regime, both in terms of the number of companies and volume of exports.

Beyond having obtained these successful figures, the aim is to attract more businesses and diversify economic activities.

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