Logistic and forwarding services in Guatemala


Capital City
Guatemala City

15.5 Mio

National languages

Quetzal (GTQ) / US Dollar (USD)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 58 Mrd

GNP per person
USD 3’674

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 26,8 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 44,5 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Guatemala

Relations between Switzerland and Guatemala are good. The two countries work together in the following areas: economy, justice and security, culture exchanges, science, and land register issues.

Economic cooperation

Trade between Switzerland and Guatemala is modest. In 2015, Switzerland imported CHF 46.85 million in goods, mostly agricultural products, and exported goods to Guatemala worth CHF 28.09 million. Switzerland’s main exports to the country are machinery, chemicals and watches. In 2014 the free trade agreement came into force between EFTA and the Central American States (Costa Rica and Panama). Guatemala signed the protocol of accession to the agreement in 2015.


Business language

Spanish, a little English.

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency 1 Quetzal (Q) = 100 centavos (c. cts).
ISO code: GTQ

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

Import licences: Import is broadly liberalised.
An import licence is required for goods including foods, medicines, chemical and biological products for use in agriculture, cigarette papers, uniforms, telecommunications equipment, televisions and synthetic rubber.
Explosives, weapons and munitions can only be imported by government agencies.
The import of coffee beans and plants, cocoa beans, tallow, foods and drinks containing cyklamate and fir trees is prohibited.
No foreign currency restrictions.
Standard VAT rate: 12% (reduced rate 0%)

Terms of payment and tenders

Tenders in Spanish in CIF port of destination.
Letter of credit or documents against payment; in the case of document collection a sight draft must be included.
Obtain information on the creditworthiness of first-time customers from the Chamber of commerce.
Invoices in USD or EUR.

Designations of origin

All goods have to have an inscription clearly showing the name of the country of origin in Spanish; if this is not possible based on the type of goods, the inner or outer packaging must be marked. Request the regulations from the importer.


Packages must have the mark, numbering, gross weight, sender/recipient and country of origin. The marking “Hecho en …” is required for the majority of goods. There are special labelling regulations for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pesticides and foods.


Seaworthy packaging, country of origin indicated on packages in English or Spanish, further signs, number, domestic destination, ports, all in letters of at least 6 cm. Do not put Guatemala City, put Ciudad de Guatemala. Consecutive numbering and indication of the customs clearance location.
Use of used sacks and packaging suspected to be infected is prohibited. ISPM no. 15 applicable.

Product samples

Duty free where there is no retail value.
Sample collections which have not been made unusable and easily identifiable can be imported temporarily duty free for up to three months provided a security totalling the import duties is paid. The shipment of samples which are subject to duty as “packages” is not permissible.

Shipping and accompanying documents

The change to Guatemalan customs import provisions (CAUSA III – Regulation on Customs Provisions for Central America) means that the legalisation of the commercial invoices and bills of lading by the General Consulate of Guatemala is no longer necessary. On request, legalisation can continue to be carried out by the general consulate. The capital city should be called “Ciudad de Guatemala” in all shipping documents. “Guatemala City” should not appear on the packages.

Otherwise standard documents and:

a) 3 commercial invoices with extensive information in Spanish, if the CIF value is USD 200 or more the country of origin of the goods must be indicated on the commercial invoices, e.g. Suiza. The individual values can be indicated in the agreed currency; the value in FOB, CIF costs and CIF value must be indicated at the end of the invoice. Ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for more information; particularly about instructions regarding packaging costs and a declaration about the accuracy of the statements made and an exact description of the goods.

b) Certificates of origin are not required.

c) Bills of lading, 1 copy, Spanish, order bills of lading are possible if a notify address is given.

d) Inspection of the quality, quantity and price (Aviso de Conformidad/Aviso de No-Conformidad) required.

e) Fees for documents submitted by post for legalisation are to be paid using a crossed cheque (ask the Chamber of Industry and Commerce how much this will be).

f) Proof of preferential status:

EUR.1 (issued by the customs office)

Declaration of origin on the invoice

– every exporter up to a value of EUR 6.000.

– “authorised exporters” – no limit

Wording of the declaration of origin: “The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorization No …) (1) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of … (2) preferential origin”. If the declaration on the invoice is made by an authorised exporter, the permit number of the authorised exporter should be entered under (1). If the declaration on the invoice is not made by an authorised exporter, the words in brackets can be left out or the gap left empty. (2) The origin of the products must be indicated. If the statement on the invoice relates in full or in part to products originating in Ceuta and Melilla, the exporter must make the short description “CM” clearly visible.