Nicaragua is a member of the Central American Common Market and is negotiating an agreement with the free trade zone of the southern American nations (MERCOSUR). In 1997, Nicaragua signed a free trade agreement with Mexico. The nation also has bilateral trade agreements with the United States, Spain, Taiwan, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The nations that export the most products to Nicaragua are the United States with 35 percent of goods and services, Germany with 13 percent, El Salvador with 10 percent, Spain with 4 percent, Costa Rica with 4 percent, and France with 2 percent. Nicaragua's main import markets are the United States at 31 percent, Costa Rica at 11 percent, Guatemala at 8 percent, Venezuela at 6 percent, El Salvador at 5 percent, and Mexico at 4 percent.
A major component of the government's effort to promote foreign trade and attract new investment has been the establishment of free trade zones. Business in these zones has increased 30 percent as has employment since 1997. The 5 current zones have 19 international and 11 Nicaraguan companies in them and produce US$198 million in goods and services for export. These zones employ 28,183 people.
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Nicaragua|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: Nicaragua|
|gold cordobas (C$) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|