Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 9/20/2017
Nicaragua has a young population, with roughly 70% of its people under the age of 35.  Nicaraguan consumers are familiar with U.S. products and brands, which are viewed favorably for high quality.

Nicaragua's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by an estimated 4.7% in 2016, due largely to increased infrastructure development, domestic consumption, tourism inflows, agriculture, and growing remittances.  Inflation in 2016 was 3.13%. The Central Bank of Nicaragua forecasts GDP growth of 4.8% for 2017.

On April 1, 2006, the United States - Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force for the United States and Nicaragua.  100% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods now enter Nicaragua duty-free.  Tariffs on most U.S. agricultural products will be phased out by 2024, with all tariffs eliminated by 2026.

The United States is Nicaragua's largest trading partner, the source of roughly a quarter of Nicaragua's imports and the destination for approximately two-thirds of its exports (including free trade zone exports).  U.S. exports to Nicaragua totaled $1.5 billion in 2016, including computer and electronic products, textiles and fabric, food and kindred products, and machinery.  Nicaraguan exports to the United States were $3.3 billion in 2016, including apparel and accessories, transportation equipment, primary metals, agricultural products, and food and kindred products.  Other important trading partners for Nicaragua are El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, and the European Union.

The Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN) stated that in 2016 foreign investment inflows were $1.44 billion, up from $1.38 billion in 2015.  Additionally, BCN estimated that net foreign direct investment was $888 million.  Investments inflows have been particularly significant in the energy, industrial, communications, and commercial sectors.   FDI from the United States accounted for 20 percent of the FDI from 1991 to 2015. Local wages are low by regional standards, and together with tax incentives for several economic sectors, are considered key in attracting foreign direct investments.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Nicaragua Trade Development and Promotion