El Salvador Trading Partner Portal

Trading Partner Portal: El Salvador


Trade Overview


El Salvador is a small developing country in Central America approximately equivalent in size to New Jersey. El Salvador, with a population of 6.45 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $27 billion, is classified by the World Bank as a lower middle income country. Though it is a smaller country, El Salvador has a vast array of production. While the majority of the land in El Salvador is used for agricultural production (about 75%), its exports vary from offshore assembly exports, to coffee, sugar, and textiles. World Bank

The United States is the top importer of El Salvadorian goods and the top exporter to El Salvador. The United States exported just over $2.6 billion worth of commodities to El Salvador in 2020. Many of those products included petroleum and coal products, food manufactures, computer and electronic products, and chemicals. In the last year, the United States imported around $1.9 billion worth of goods from El Salvador. The biggest imported product that composed 68.2% of all imported goods from El Salvador was apparel manufacturing products, which totaled slightly more than $1.3 billion. Other key imports from El Salvador include food manufactures, textile products, and reimports. US Department of Commerce

El Salvador-California Trade

California is the third largest US state exporter of goods to El Salvador. California exported $392 million of products to El Salvador in 2020. Petroleum and coal products are the main exported good from California, making up 44.7% of the total. Other key exports are used or secondhand merchandise, food manufactures, and computer and electronic products. California is also one of the largest importers of El Salvadorian products out of all the states with a total of $136 million worth of imported goods in 2020. The main imported goods included apparel manufacturing products, which represented 38% of all the imports, followed by food manufactures, textile products, and agricultural products.

Foreign Direct Investment

In 2019, out of the $113.2 billion the US invested into Central America, $3.3 billion went into El Salvador. In 2019, El Salvador’s FDI into the US based on balance of payments and direct investment position was undisclosed.  US Department of Commerce, BEA

Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean
ECLAC, December 2019

Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements

Yes, Really: It’s Time to Revive Hemispheric Trade Talks
Latin Trade, August 6, 2020

CAFTA-DR (Dominican Republic- Central America Free Trade Agreement)

The United States trade deal with some of the small developing countries in Central America was signed by President George W. Bush in 2005 as an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Members of the CAFTA-DR free trade agreement include the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.  Exports from the United States to this group of countries totaled $29 billion in 2015, while imports totaled approximately $24 billion. This trade agreement ensures that 100% of goods from the United States are not subject to tariffs in these countries, it also has a goal of phasing out all tariffs on agricultural products by 2020.



Central American Ambassadors Promote Benefits of Trade Agreement with U.S. (03/08/2005)

The California Chamber of Commerce hosted five ambassadors representing the nations included in the proposed U.S.- Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) at an International Luncheon Forum on March 8, 2005.