• Rupa Ganguli

From Guatemala City to Amsterdam and London

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

Have you meet the Gautemalans?

From a cup of Coffee to sustainable Clothing

While many drink a mug of Guatemalan coffee from the nearest coffee chain or barista each morning, very few are aware that Guatemala has a very strong and innovative garment-manufacturing industry. In a country filled with natural beauty and historic architecture, textile traditions go back centuries when women wove intricate designs using vibrant colours and stitched these into beautiful garments for everyday wear.

Over the years, the Guatemalan textile and garment-manufacturing sector has evolved to become a destination of choice for the majority of brands and retailers from the United States and other South and Central American countries. But few European brands and retailers have made it to Guatemala or know of its immense potential and sustainable production capabilities.

So what can you expect in Guatemala?

A warm and welcoming country of skilled people with manufacturing flexibility, high levels of innovation, basic and value added product development abilities, access to traditional skill sets and high national levels of compliance. Many factories are already equipped or working towards satisfying European brand requirements. Having worked for several years and having established strong business relations with the United States, Guatemalan brands and manufacturers are now in a position to further expand their facilities to designers, brands and retailers in other parts of the world.

A new opening and perfect timing

The new trade deal (Association Agreement) signed between Central America and the European Union providing duty free access offers the perfect opportunity for European brands to explore sourcing in Guatemala. To make this a reality, The Dutch Government Agency – CBI, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (www.cbi.eu) has embarked on a 2-year project in partnership with VESTEX (the dynamic garment and textile industry association of Guatemala) to provide inputs and exposure to Guatemalan manufacturers to help understand requirements of the EU market. Findings from research and field study indicate The UK, Netherlands, Germany and parts of Scandinavia as possible export markets best suited for Guatemalan exporters.

Seeing is believing

As part of this project, 9 manufacturers and brands are getting ready to make their way to the Netherlands and UK for a study visit from 9 – 15 November 2015 for the first time to explore collaborations and to learn more through a first hand interaction. During this activity packed week, they will attend workshops, walk the streets, look at stores and interact with buyers and sourcing specialists to better their understanding of key elements such as price points, quality standards, compliance requirements, market segments, distribution and design expectations. VESTEX (http://vestex.com.gt) will lead the delegation from Guatemala and take back inputs to support both, policy making and competitiveness and enterprise development within the sector.

Clothing Connect B.V., with its base in The Netherlands and The UK, is the contracting agency implementing this project for the Dutch Government. www.clothing-connect.com

#marketaccess to #shopbyimpact

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