The Central American Business Council, in collaboration with the British Embassies in El Salvador and Panama, organised a retail trade mission to Panama City and San Salvador which took place on Tuesday 25-Friday 28 March 2014. Companies in the fashion, food and beverage, homeware and cosmetics sectors and the wider retail industry participated.
This retail mission offered delegates a bespoke programme of meetings and provided a unique opportunity to meet a series of identified senior business leaders in the retail sector which have a reach across Central America and wider region. The mission allowed companies to save time in identifying potential prospects and offered companies the added benefit of being associated with a high-level venture promoted by the British Embassy in each country.
El Salvador and Panama are two important markets in Central America for the retail sector.
El Salvador is home to large business groups which own departments stores and supermarket chains across the region; any deal made with such groups will likely be a regional deal, ensuring entry into the whole Central American market with a total population of over 41 million.
Panama has a strategic location, being the distribution centre for the wider region, and has an important role as a regional showcase for brands: success in Panama often translates to success across the region. Due to its connectivity, safety and dollarised economy, Panama is a hotspot for wealthy tourists from South America and Central America who take advantage of its malls and safe shopping environment.
Furthermore, with the entry into force of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, most import tariffs in the region have now been eliminated.