Emerging Markets in Guatemala

Eric Gee speaks to seminar attendees as part of the Emerging Markets Program

In late September, SFPA Deputy Director Eric Gee and Caribbean Consultant Fradbelin Escarraman visited Guatemala as part of the Emerging Markets Program (EMP) Central America project. EMP projects reach potential new emerging markets, and surveys of those trained through these projects show significant increases in the understanding of and desire to begin importing U.S. softwoods.

The Guatemala trip began with a training seminar featuring Eric Gee. The seminar addressed the commercial characteristic and sustainability of U.S. softwoods and attracted 20 wood traders and specifiers. Following the presentation, there was lively conversation with attendees who seemed particularly interested in pressure-treated lumber, which is well-suited to Guatemala’s tropical climate and persistent termites. Attendees also indicated that local wood production is not graded, is of lower quality, and that sourcing local is becoming more difficult. In addition to the training seminar, the team met with several of Guatemala’s key lumber importers and specifiers.

An exit survey of those in attendance showed that the biggest obstacle that remains is a lack of knowledge of the different grades and species and that the training seminar was effective at increasing their understanding of U.S. softwoods. A majority of respondents indicated that they are likely to begin specifying U.S. softwoods as a result of the event, an encouraging sign for the future of the Guatemalan emerging market.

SFPA Members can view the complete Central America Emerging Markets Program Final Report, including details about the first part of the project in Costa Rica, and survey answers within the Members Only section of SFPA.org