Guatemala Nature & Economy

Location: in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the southeast.
Population: 15,803,089 (2014 est.)
Land Area:108889 km2
Capital: Guatemala City
Languages: Spanish, Amerindian languages
GDP: $49.108 billion (2014 est.)
Monetary unit: Quetzal
Exports: $3.71 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, sugar, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom
Exports - partners: US 45.2%, El Salvador 12.1%, Honduras 7.3% (2006)
Imports: $9.911 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities: fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity
Imports - partners: US 31.3%, Mexico 7.9%, China 6.1%, El Salvador 5%, South Korea 5%, Panama 4.6% (2006)
Land use:
arable land: 13.22%
permanent crops: 5.6%
other: 81.18% (2005)
Natural resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Economy Overview
Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol. The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and Guatemala since then has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force in July 2006 and has since spurred increased investment in the export sector, but concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers and poor infrastructure continued to hamper foreign participation. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, curtailing drug trafficking and rampant crime, and narrowing the trade deficit. Given Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States, it is the top remittance recipient in Central America, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly two-thirds of exports. Economic growth will slow in 2009 as export demand from US and other Central American markets drop and foreign investment slows amid the global slowdown.

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