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Competition law and free trade top of the agenda as British Ambassador meets new Minister of Economy

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Ambassador Whittingham underscored the UK’s interest in deepening economic ties with Guatemala and working together to bolster the business environment and foreign investment. Both discussed the importance of the competition law as a tool to levelling the playing field for local and foreign companies wanting to do business in Guatemala.

The Ambassador offered to consult and share the experience of the Competition & Markets Authority, the UK’s institution dedicated to promoting competitive markets and tackling unfair behaviour. A competition law is currently under discussion at the Guatemalan Congress.

Ambassador Whittingham and Minister García-Quinn also addressed the implementation of the Association Agreement between Central America and the United Kingdom.  Last year, London hosted a Ministerial Council where countries agreed to continue dismantling technical barriers that affect free trade. Next steps include setting up sub-committees on the Political and Cooperation pillars of the Agreement.

Ambassador Whittingham explained the interest of UK companies in Guatemala in priority sectors like infrastructure and technology for agriculture (AgriTech) and stressed the importance of rule of law and legal certainty as the basis to have a functional business environment that allows reliable trade and investment. He also explained mechanisms like the support of UK Export Finance (UKEF), a bank destined to impulse UK sourced projects, for exports and infrastructure investments.

Bilateral trade between October 2022 and September 2023 was USD 400 million; Guatemalan exports to the UK market were USD 320 million, while British exports to the Guatemalan market were USD 80 million. The main Guatemalan products exported were vegetables, fruits, sugar, beverages, coffee, and oleaginous fruits; while the main British products were cars, coffee, tea, miscellaneous electric goods, specialised machinery, and beverages.

The Vice Minister of Integration and Foreign Trade, Héctor Marroquín, also participated in the meeting.

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