Guatemala – Country Brief

Embassy of India, Guatemala City

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                                    India-Guatemala Bilateral Relations                                       

 

Political:

 

India-Guatemala enjoys cordial and friendly relations. The diplomatic relations were established in the late 1970s. The visit of Shri Anand Sharma, the Minister of State for External Affairs, in June 2007, was the first ever ministerial visit from India to Guatemala. After this visit, both countries decided to open their Embassies in respective countries. The Embassy of India in Guatemala was opened in December 2009 and became fully functional in mid-2010. Shri E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs visited Guatemala from April 29 to May 1, 2011. He formally inaugurated the Embassy on April 29, 2011 in the presence of H.E. Mr. Alvaro Colom Caballeros, the then President of Guatemala and other invited dignitaries and guests.

 

Guatemala opened its Embassy in New Delhi in April 2013 and the first resident Ambassador of Guatemala to India, presented his credentials in April, 2014. Ambassador Carlos Raul Morales Moscoso, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala visited New Delhi and formally inaugurated the Embassy of Guatemala in New Delhi in October, 2014.

 

India-SICA (Central American Integration System) Foreign Ministers’ meeting is an important forum for India’s bilateral interaction with Guatemala, among others. The 2nd India-SICA Foreign Ministers´ meeting was held in Delhi in June 2008. Within its context, India extended to each of the 8 SICA countries, including Guatemala, credit lines of US$10 million each for development projects. EXIM Bank of India has also extended a US$ 10 million commercial LOC to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), to finance regional project. India further offered to assist SICA countries in priority areas such as agriculture, SMEs, pharmaceuticals, tourism, IT-related activities, renewable energy, disaster management, distant education and supply of satellite imagery for development purposes. Shri V. K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, visited Guatemala in May 2015 to participate in the 3rd India-SICA Foreign Ministers meeting.

 

 Bilateral agreements:

  1. Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, signed in 1981.
  2. Agreement for visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders signed in May, 2015.

 Bilateral Visits from India:

  1. June, 2007:   Shri Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs
  2. May, 2011:     Shri E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs
  3. April, 2014:    Secretary (West) and Joint Secretary (LAC) for the first Foreign Office Consultations
  4. May 2015:      Shri V. K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs to participate in the India-SICA Foreign Ministers meeting.

Bilateral Visits from Guatemala:

  1. May, 2005:     Mr. Jorge Britz, Minister of External Relations
  2. August 2007:            Mr. Gert Rosenthal, Foreign Minister
  3. June, 2008:   Mr. Haroldo Rodas Melgar, Foreign Minister to attend the India-SICA meeting.
  4. Oct. 2014:      Mr. Carlos Raúl Morales, Foreign Minister, accompanied by Mr. Rodrigo Vielmann, Vice Foreign Minister, Mr. Sergio De La Torre, Minister of Economy and seven Guatemalan Businessmen to attend the VI India-LAC Investment Conclave.
  5. Oct. 2015:      Vice Foreign Minister Rodrigo Vielmann to participate in the India-LAC Conclave.

 

Trade and Economic:

Indo-Guatemala Trade (in million US $)

Year
( April – March)

Imports from Guatemala

Exports to Guatemala

Total trade

% Growth

2010-2011 40.18 112.68 152.86 64.57
2011-2012 6.71 191.29 198.00 29.52
2012-2013 8.31 224.61 232.92 17.64
2013-2014 13.12 212.36 225.48 -3.19
2014-2015 17.12 229.01 246.13 9.16
2015-2016 Apr-Sep 18.13 129.22

(Source: Department of Commerce-India)

 

Major items of export:
Articles of Iron & Steel, cotton, Machinery & Mechanical Appliances and Parts thereof, Organic chemicals, Pharmaceutical products, Rubber & articles thereof, Vehicles and its parts & accessories. Electrical Machinery and equipment and parts thereof, miscellaneous edible preparations,

 

Major items of import:
Wood & articles thereof, wood charcoal, Sugar and Sugar confectionery, Coffee, Cardamom and Aluminium & articles thereof.

 

Indian Companies:

Praj Industries Limited, noted Indian company in the field of alternative fuels, is supplying equipment for ethanol production plants. B Fouress (P) Limited a well-known Indian company in hydro-eletric field has opened its office in Guatemala. Hero motorcycles, Mahindra vehicles, Bajaj 2 and 3 wheelers are sold in Guatemala. Many Indian pharmaceutical products are being sold in Guatemala through representatives.

 

Trade delegations from India:

Oct. 2005:                  India participated in the INTERFER Trade Exhibition

March, 2007:             Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) delegation

February, 2010:         Coffee Board delegation to attend World Coffee Conference.

November, 2010:        Spices Board of India delegation to visit Cardamom plantations

March, 2011:                EEPC delegation

2012 March:                 PLEXCONCIL delegation

2012 August:                TEXPROCIL delegation

2013 September:         PHARMEXCIL delegation

October, 2013:             EEPC delegation

2014 February:            CHEMEXCIL delegation

2014 March:                 TEXPROCIL delegation

2014 April:                   PLEXCONCIL delegation

2014 August:               PHARMEXCIL delegation

May, 2015:                   TEXPROCIL delegation

 

ITEC:            
Guatemala is an ITEC partner country since 1997- 98. The number of ITEC slots for Guatemala in 2015-16 is 25.

 

IT Center:
Government of India, in an effort to contribute to capacity building in Guatemala, set up an IT Training Center in San Carlos University in August 2006. Tata Communications Services (TCS) ran this IT Center till July 2008, training about 1,500 Guatemalans, before in was handed over to the Guatemalans.

 

Donations:
India donated US$50,000 worth of medicines following Hurricane Stan in October 2005, 36 Bajaj three-wheelers in October 2005, and responding to Guatemala Government´s food insecurity declaration, provided assistance of US$250,000 in November 2009, US$ 100,000 for Disaster Relief in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Guatemala in November 2012, US $ 200,000 for Drought relief in December 2014 and installed some solar powered traffic signaling system in May, 2015.

 

Cultural Exchanges:

Cultural cooperation so far has been limited to Indian cultural troupes visiting from India to Guatemala. A 15-member Odissi dance troupe visited Guatemala for a performance “Shyama” on 18th October, 2011. Academic and other linkages are being encouraged and visits by Indian academicians have been well received.

 

Guatemala Visa:

With effect from June 6, 2011 for Indian nationals who are holders of ordinary passports, visa will not be required to enter Guatemala if they have valid visas of United States of America, Canada or Schengen. All other Indian nationals not having these visas will be required to obtain prior visa to enter Guatemala. The Guatemalan Embassy in New Delhi (opened in April 2013) is fully functional, and issue visas to Indians.

 

Air Links/Travel:

There are no direct flights between Guatemala and India. Convenient connections are available via United States, Mexico and Europe.

 

 Indian community:

The Indian community in Guatemala is small and consist of about 100 individuals in all, working in the Indian Call Centers like ‘24/7 Customer-Guatemala’ and ‘Genpact’, in cardamom export trade, in auto parts business, or in cottage industries. Most of them came to Guatemala during the last two decades. Also a Guatemala-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry was set up in 2004. There is an India association called Asociacion de Amigos de la India ‘Bharat Bandhu’.

Besides there are about 450-500 people of India origin who came to this region as indentured laborers during the 19th and early 20 centuries and settled in the coastal Guatemala on Atlantic and a small township of Livingstone. They live in villages, own land, and are involved in fishing, agriculture and tourism sectors. They are mostly 4th-5th generation Indians, and by now well integrated into the local community.

 

 Useful Resources:

For more information and latest updates, please visit Embassy of India in Guatemala website: http://www.indemguatemala.org

Embassy of India, Guatemala Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/EmbajadaIndiaGuatemala

Embassy of India, Guatemala Twitter page: https://twitter.com/IndianEmbassyGT