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Nicaragua

On August 5, 2004, the United States signed the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic (the Parties). Under the Agreement, the Parties significantly liberalized trade in goods and services. 

The CAFTA-DR also includes important disciplines relating to: customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, transparency and labor and environmental protection. 

The Agreement entered into force for the United States and El Salvador on March 1, 2006; for Honduras and Nicaragua on Aril 1 2006; and for Guatemala on July 1, 2006. The CAFTA-DR entered into force for the Dominican Republic on March 1, 2007, and for Costa Rica on January 1, 2009. 

U.S.-Nicaragua Trade Facts

In 2019, Nicaragua GDP was an estimated $12.5 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was down by an estimated 3.9%; and the population was 7 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with Nicaragua totaled an estimated $6.4 billion in 2019. Exports were $2.0 billion; imports were $4.3 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Nicaragua was $2.3 billion in 2019.

Nicaragua is currently our 62th largest goods trading partner with $5.5 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2019. Goods exports totaled $1.7 billion; goods imports totaled $3.9 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Nicaragua was $2.2 billion in 2019.

Trade in services with Nicaragua (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $863 million in 2019. Services exports were $398 million; services imports were $465 million. The U.S. services trade deficit with Nicaragua was $67 million in 2019.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Nicaragua supported an estimated 9 thousand jobs in 2015 (latest data available) (6 thousand supported by goods exports and 3 thousand supported by services exports).

Exports

  • Nicaragua was the United States' 67th largest goods export market in 2019.
  • U.S. goods exports to Nicaragua in 2019 were $1.7 billion, up 1.4% ($23 million) from 2018 and up 131.0% from 2009. U.S. exports to Nicaragua are up 164% from 2005 (pre-FTA).
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($492 million), knit apparel ($196 million), cereals (corn) ($98 million), machinery ($95 million), and cotton ($79 million).
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Nicaragua totaled $250 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: corn ($50 million), rice ($44 million), soybean meal ($42 million), pork and pork products ($19 million), and dairy products ($15 million).
  • U.S. exports of services to Nicaragua were an estimated $398 million in 2019, 8.9% ($39 million) less than 2018, but 39.6% greater than 2009 levels.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to Nicaragua were in the travel, transport, and financial services sectors.

Imports

  • Nicaragua was the United States' 57th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
  • U.S. goods imports from Nicaragua totaled $3.9 billion in 2019, up 8.5% ($304 million) from 2018, and up 140.9% from 2009. U.S. imports from Nicaragua are up 229% from 2005 (pre-FTA).
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: knit apparel ($1.3 billion), woven apparel ($508 million), precious metal and stone (gold) ($500 million), electrical machinery ($444 million), and meat (beef, frozen) ($296 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Nicaragua totaled $734 million in 2019. Leading categories include: red meats, fresh, chilled, or frozen ($296 million), unroasted coffee ($264 million), sugars, sweeteners, beverage bases ($33 million), raw beet & cane sugar ($31 million), and cheese ($28 million).
  • U.S. imports of services from Nicaragua were an estimated $465 million in 2019, 4.3% ($19 million) more than 2018, and 24.3% greater than 2009 levels.  Leading services imports from Nicaragua to the U.S. were in the travel, telecommunications, computer, and information services, and transport sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Nicaragua was $2.2 billion in 2019, a 14.4% increase ($281 million) over 2018.
  • The United States has a services trade deficit of an estimated $67 million with Nicaragua in 2019, up 644% from 2018.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nicaragua (stock) was $82 million in 2019, a 40.6% decrease from 2018. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Nicaragua.
  • No data on Nicaragua's FDI in the U.S. are available. There is no information on the distribution of Nicaragua FDI in the U.S.
  • Sales of services in Nicaragua by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $379 million in 2017 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Nicaragua-owned firms were $70 million.