Trading Partner Portal: Nicaragua


Trade Overview


Nicaragua is a country with a geographical size slightly smaller than the state of New York in Central America and the Caribbean. The World Bank classifies Nicaragua as a lower middle income country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $13.8 billion. The population was recorded as approximately 6.2 million people in 2017. Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere. World Bank, CIA 

Nicaragua’s economy has improved since 2006, due to the increase in exporting capabilities with the implementation of the Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The United States not only has an established trade relationship with Nicaragua, but there are also flows of investment across their borders. In 2017, the United States had a total of $187 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) to Nicaragua. Additionally in 2016, Nicaragua had $7 million in FDI flowing into the United States. The United States is currently Nicaragua’s largest trading partner, as their largest export destination and their largest importer of goods. Nicaragua has a history of exporting agricultural goods, such as coffee, beef and sugar. They also have exported valuable metals like gold and silver. However, Nicaragua also has a large export market of manufactured textiles. US Department of Commerce, BEA

In 2018, the United States imported $3.58 billion worth of goods from Nicaragua. 45.9% of those goods were apparel manufacturing products, which totaled almost $1.64 billion. Other imports from Nicaragua included transportation equipment, food manufactures, and primary metal. The United States also exported $1.6 billion worth of goods to Nicaragua in 2018. The key exports to Nicaragua included petroleum and coal products, textiles and fabrics, apparel, and food manufactures. US Department of Commerce

Nicaragua-California Trade

In the United States, California is one of the top exporter to Nicaragua. California exported $363 million worth of goods to Nicaragua in 2018. Apparel manufacturing products and petroleum and coal were the top two exported goods forming over 70% of all exported goods to Nicaragua from California. Those two exported commodities totaled roughly over $263.7 million. The other top exports from California to Nicaragua were textiles and fabrics and food manufactures. Not only is California one of the top exporters to Nicaragua, it is the largest importer of Nicaraguan goods in the United States. In 2018, California imported $623 million worth of goods from Nicaragua. 60.5% of those imports were apparel manufacturing products with a value of $377 million. Other key imported products from Nicaragua to California were food manufactures, agricultural products, and waste and scrap. US Department of Commerce 

Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements

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 North American Free Trade Agreement for the US. Members of this free trade agreement include the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. This trade agreement has led for this group to become the US’s 16th largest trading partner in commodities. 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.

(March 8, 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.

Central American Ambassadors Promote Benefi ts of Trade Agreement with U.S.