United States' exporters enjoy an enviable position in the Honduran market and it has improved after the implementation of the CAFTA-DR agreement in 2006. The Honduran retail sector is by far the largest market for imported food, due to the expansion of supermarkets in urban areas.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE
BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S.
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: HO1007
Robert Hoff, Agricultural Counselor
Erika Sanchez, Agricultural Marketing Assistant
United States' exporters enjoy an enviable position in the Honduran market and it has improved after
the implementation of the CAFTA-DR agreement in 2006. The Honduran retail sector is by far the
largest market for imported food, due to the expansion of supermarkets in urban areas. The HRI
sector is developing rapidly and has a tremendous potential for processed products.
I. MARKET OVERVIEW
A. Economic Situation
The Honduran economy has diversified in recent decades and now has a strong export-processing
(maquila) industry primarily focused on assembling textile and apparel goods for re-export to the
United States, as well as automobile wiring harnesses and similar products. However, these industries
were hit hard by the current international economic downturn, with about 30,000 workers losing their
jobs in late 2009 alone. Despite the recent economic diversification, there continues to be a large
subsistence farmer population with few economic opportunities. Honduras also has extensive forest,
marine, and mineral resources; however, widespread slash-and-burn agricultural methods and illegal
logging continue to destroy Honduran forests.
The value of remittances has been higher than the revenue generated from the maquila industry and
tourism. The Central Bank of Honduras reported that remittances increased 3.1 percent as of August
2010, starkly different than the decrease of 11.8 percent registered in 2009. The overall drop in
remittances is attributed to the economic crisis and to unemployment in the United States. Honduras?
real GDP increased 3.6 percent as of June 2010, recovering some from the -2 percent decline
experienced in 2009, which was largely because of external price shocks, the effects of the global
economic slowdown, and the country?s internal political crisis. Inflation has gone down substantially
to 3 percent as of December of 2009, one of the lowest rates during the last two decades.
Additionally, the banking system has been strengthened by alliances with international banks.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) was up 5.3 percent during the first semester of 2010, in comparison
to the 3 percent declined experienced in 2009. The largest percentage of FDI flow registered in 2009
was directed towards telecommunication, food industry, and wholesale companies. The United States
continues to be the largest investor in Honduras, followed by the United Kingdom and some
The United States is the chief trading partner of Honduras: the United State supplies 52 percent of
Honduran imports and purchases approximately 70 percent of Honduran exports. The largest U.S.
investments are in the garment assembly sector, tropical fruit production (bananas, melons, and
pineapple), tourism, energy generation, shrimp farming, animal feed production, telecommunications,
fuel distribution, cigar manufacturing, insurance, leasing, food processing, and furniture
manufacturing. More than 108 American companies operate in Honduras, including U.S.
manufacturing operations, U.S. franchises, and other types of industries.
B. Market Growth
Exporters from the United States enjoy a strong position in the Honduran market, a position which
was improved by the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
Honduras was the second country to ratify CAFTA-DR, and it entered into force in Honduras on
April 1, 2006, one month following El Salvador and the United States. CAFTA-DR eliminates most
tariffs and other barriers for U.S. goods destined for the Central American market, protects U.S.
investments and intellectual property, and creates more transparent rules and procedures for doing
business in Central America. CAFTA-DR also aims to eliminate inter-Central American tariffs,
which facilitates increased regional trade that benefits U.S. companies manufacturing in Honduras.
Honduran tariffs on most goods from outside the Central American Common Market (CACM) are
currently within the zero to 15 percent range. With CAFTA-DR in effect, about 80 percent of U.S.
goods can now enter the region duty-free, with tariffs on the remaining 20 percent to be phased out
within 10 years. Enhanced by increased market access, U.S. exports over the past decade to
Honduras have increased both in terms of absolute dollar value and in terms of market share. Strong
prospects for exports of goods and services are extensive and include: franchising; food processing
and packaging equipment; hotel and restaurant equipment; processed foods, auto parts and
transportation machinery; travel and tourism services; printing and graphic arts equipment; safety and
security equipment; electrical machinery; and electrical power generation/renewable energy
Overall, Central America and Honduras enjoy relative stability, growing economies, and proximity to
the United States, all of which make these markets attractive for U.S. exports. Further, regional
integration should spur investment, growth, trade, and continued market opportunities for U.S. firms
in the coming years.
C. Market Opportunities and Competitiveness
The strengths, market opportunities and competitiveness of U.S. suppliers are illustrated in the
Close proximity to the United States allows containerized Direct competition from other Central
cargo from gateway cities to be transported to Honduras American countries, as well as Mexico
in 2 - 3 days. With the lowest logistical costs in the and Chile.
region, Honduras also serves as a distribution point for
the rest of Central America.
CAFTA-DR eliminates most tariffs and other barriers to Maintaining macro-economic stability
United States goods destined for the Central American and fostering an environment for
market, protects U.S. investments and intellectual investment.
property, and creates more transparent rules and
procedures for doing business.
Consumers have strong preferences for U.S. products. The current economic situation in the
U.S. products enjoy a high-quality image among country limits purchasing power and
Hondurans. Importers prefer trading with U.S. exporters customers are price sensitive.
because of reliability.
Among the leading sectors for U.S. exports and Relative high duties on some products,
investment are fast food outlets, casual dining as well as inconsistent customs
restaurants, and the introduction of new U.S. hotel valuation practices and import
chains--including investment in the Bay Islands and procedures make it more difficult to
North Coast of Honduras (prime tourist areas)--food enter the market.
processing and packaging equipment, processed foods,
and general consumer goods.
Increases in infrastructure and facilities have permitted Unclear and occasionally restrictive
the year-round availability of U.S. fruits such as apples, sanitary and phytosanitary import
grapes, and pears. Direct imports by warehouse outlets requirements.
have diversified foods imports.
II. EXPORTER BUSINESS TIPS
A. Business Customs
The Honduran government is generally open to foreign investment and welcomes it. Restrictions and
performance requirements are fairly limited. Relatively low labor costs, proximity to the U.S. market,
and Central America?s best Caribbean port (Puerto Cortés) have also made Honduras increasingly
attractive to investors. Puerto Cortés, the largest deep-water port in the region, is the first port in
Latin America to qualify under both the Megaports and Container Security Initiatives (CSI), which
now make approximately 90 percent of all transatlantic and transpacific cargo imported into the
United States subject to prescreening prior to import.
Under CAFTA-DR, U.S. investors enjoy, in almost all circumstances, the right to establish, acquire,
and operate investments in Honduras on an equal footing with local investors. In the investment
chapter of CAFTA-DR, Honduras committed to provide a higher level of protection for U.S.
investors than under the 2001 Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). The local banking system is
traditionally conservative and generally extends only limited amounts of credit; however, looser
monetary policies and increased competition from regional and international banks, including HSBC
and Citigroup, led to an expansion of consumer credit in 2007. As of fall 2010, the banking system
has a liquidity of more than 33 million Lempiras (equivalent to US$1.7 billion dollars). Recently, the
Honduran National Banking and Insurance Commission (CNBS) announced that it is considering
increasing required reserves for banks which will lead to higher interest rates. United States
exporters that offer attractive financing terms on sales to Honduran traders have the best chance of
gaining market share.
As in most Latin American countries, a good personal relationship with prospective customers is
basic to penetrate the market. While it may take a little longer to establish a business relationship than
is customary in the United States, the investment in time can pay off in long-lasting and mutually
profitable alliances. Although a U.S. firm may export directly to Honduran companies, U.S. suppliers
are strongly recommended to have a local representative or a distributor who can personally travel to
B. Consumer Tastes and Preferences
In recent years, Honduran preference for U.S. products has increased tremendously. The number of
U.S. franchises operating in Honduras has grown rapidly. About 65 foreign firms now operate in
Honduras. Most of these firms are U.S. fast-food and casual restaurants. In addition, Hondurans
traditionally prefer the quality, convenience and wholesomeness of American products. Some
companies are combining Honduran and American foods as an attractive tool in restaurants.
Some of the positive market entry factors found in Honduras includes a high receptivity to U.S.
goods and services.
C. Food Standards and Import Regulations
The Honduran Government (GOH) agencies which are responsible for food safety matters are the
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The main
regulatory agencies regarding food safety are SAG?s National Plant and Animal Health Service
(SENASA) and the MOH?s Sanitary Regulation Directorate (SRD). As a general rule, SENASA is
responsible for the inspection of agricultural products that enter Honduras, such as imports of raw
materials and the process for consumer ready food products. The SRD is responsible for securing the
safety of processed food products sold to the consumer.
Demonstrating Eligibility for Preferential Tariff Treatment
In relation to the United States-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA-DR), Honduras requires a special Certificate of Origin for imports from the United States to
be submitted. The main purpose of the document is to certify that the product originated in the
United States, which in turn allows the product to receive the preferential tariff treatment agreed upon
in CAFTA-DR. The producer, exporter or importer could provide the certificate with all the required
information. A sample of this certificate can be found at:
CAFTA_TLC_Estados_Unidos.sflb.ashx. The CAFTA-DR certificate is required by the Customs
Tax Division (DEI).
In some situations, multiple shipments of identical goods are being sent to the same CAFTA-DR
importer. In these cases, it is not necessary to create a new written or electronic certification for
each individual shipment. The importer may maintain one ?blanket" certificate to be presented to the
customs authority, if requested. The "blanket period" may not exceed one year.
Sanitary Registration for Products
The Sanitary Registration Number is the established procedure through which processed foods are
approved to be sold. i.e. is the processed product registration. Procedures to obtain the Sanitary
Registration Number (SRN), as well as sanitary inscription or renewal, can be carried out by any
person or company. It is not necessary to be a lawyer; however, it is suggested that if there is a
problem during the process of registration, the importer should utilize a lawyer. The following
information must be submitted to the SRD to obtain a SRN:
? Applicant?s information: Name, Honduran ID or passport number (in the case of Honduras),
name of legal representative, Honduran ID or passport number, address, phone, fax, e-mail,
and address, phone, fax, and e-mail of the warehouse or distributor.
? Sanitary License: The Sanitary License applies only to Honduran establishments. Through
the license, the SRD authorizes the establishments to manufacture or import and store
processed food products, based on their compliance with food safety and hygiene
? Manufacturer?s information: Name of factory or warehouse in the United States, address,
phone, fax, and e-mail.
? Product Information: Name of product to be registered, product trademark, type of product,
net content, sanitary registration number for renewals, and country of origin.
? Certificate of Free Sale for processed food products. The certificate indicates that the
exporter has an annual food permit to produce, manufacture, distribute and pack food
products for human consumption. It states that the plant where the product has been
produced or processed is regularly inspected for compliance with all health and sanitation
requirements. It also certifies that the products are freely sold and consumed in the United
States, as well as exported. The certificate is issued by the appropriate state-level health
authorities or the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
The certificate is requested to register the processed food product with the SRD. For
registration purposes, the Free Sale Certificate (FSC) should be accompanied by a document
that provides an endorsement of the signatures that appear on the FSC. This document can be
any of the following: An apostille that certifies that the FSC has been signed by a notary
public of the state of origin of the FSC or by an authentication of the FSC by the Honduran
Consulate. In both cases, the apostille or authentication should be provided with an official
translation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honduras.
? Original label of the imported product. If the label is not in Spanish, a complementary
label with the translation must accompany.
? Proof of payment of the laboratory analysis.
? Sample of the product when analysis is done prior to registration. Products are divided in
three risk areas:
Category ?A? for products is the highest risk. These products are the easiest to contaminate
and are consumed by a high level of the population. The category includes the following
products: raw and processed meats of all kinds, eggs (powder and liquid), milk (powder and
liquid), cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, bottled water, ice, and raw and processed seafood of all
Category ?B? is medium risk, such as flour, sugar, and salt.
Category ?C? has the least risk, such as candy and cookies.
Sample analysis is conducted only on Category A products. The registration of products under
the B and C categories does not need a sample of the product. Samples are required only in
cases when there is an alert or outbreak of a B or C category product.
All processed food products imported into Honduras must be registered with the SRD. The exporter
should confirm that the importer complies with two SRD requirements: 1) The importer must have a
valid Sanitary License, and 2) the importer must register the product and obtain a SRN or Sanitary
Processed products must have a SRN issued by the SRD prior to entering the country. Only food
samples to be used for the registration process will be allowed to enter the country without such a
number. SRD regulations allow up to 30 working days to provide a SRN. The importer?s
representative should regularly check with the SRD to verify the status of the process?regular
checking will insure that importers know if a document is missing or if the SRD requires further
Central America Customs Union (CACU) members agreed that for the products produced or
processed in their countries, when a product obtains a SRN in a CACU country, it does not need to be
registered in another. Products produced in the U.S. are not eligible for the registration exemption.
However, it is important to note that the origin of the product is considered to be a CACU country if
the product is processed in a CACU country, even if the raw material is not from a CACU member
Unlabeled containers of food inputs waiting to be processed, labeled, or repacked, do not need SRNs.
However, the packer or processor has to have a Sanitary License issued by the SRD. When the
processed or packed food product is to be sold to the consumer, it needs a SRN. It should also have
the expiration date, the name of the manufacturer and the name of the processor or packer. Raw
poultry sold at the retail level in packages or bags must have a SRN. The label on the boxes with the
raw product should display the SRN.
The Sanitary Inscription is the authorization granted to an importer or distributor of a previously
Food Product Import Permits
Import permits of raw and processed food products, additives, and inputs used in food processing
must comply with SENASA requirements. In order to get an import permit, all importers should
submit the request with the following documents to SENASA:
a. Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate
b. Certificate of Origin
c. Photocopy of Pro-forma Commercial Invoice
d. Photocopy of Sanitary Registration document of the consumer-ready product issued by
e. Photocopy of Import License of the dairy product issued by the Ministry of Industry
The above mentioned documents and the import request should be clear and show the same amounts,
description, origin and point of departure of the products to be brought. The request of an import
permit is done when the importer has already complied with the procedures of obtaining the SRN
from the SRD.
The requirements and import permit application forms can be accessed at: http://www.senasa-
sag.gob.hn. The import permit process in SENASA takes from 24 to 72 hours if all documents are in
order. The permit is applied to one shipment and is valid for 30 days. In case the permit is not used
within 30 days of issuance, the importer requests that SENASA renew the import permit.
The documents required to submit with the import permit and the import process at the port of entry
are described below.
a. Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate
SENASA requests that the Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate be issued by the U.S. federal government
authority that inspects the conditions of the plant where the product has been produced or processed
such as: the United States Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service
(FSIS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), as well as the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA). A Certificate of Free Sale issued by a state-level health authority or a
chamber of commerce is accepted for other types of processed products. SENASA, however, does
not accept documents from commercial trading companies.
The above mentioned documents certify the inspections done by federal or state authorities. Under
CAFTA-DR, Honduras recognized the United States inspection services as equivalent to the one in
Honduras. This equivalence eliminates the requirement of a pre-certification of the U.S. exporter?s
Regarding imports of U.S. fresh/frozen poultry products, must come with an FSIS Certificate (Form
9060-5). SENASA has requested that USDA add an Additional Declaration (AD) to the phytozoo-
sanitary certificates. The AD should indicate that ?All fresh/frozen poultry meat, including
mechanically deboned meat (MDM), comes from an area free of high or low pathogenic Avian
Influenza". APHIS provides updates to SENASA concerning outbreaks by state as well as their
current status. However, SENASA has emphasized that it is the importers? as well as the exporters?
responsibility to stay abreast of outbreaks so they can assure SENASA of the health status of the area
In addition, imports of cooked poultry products must come with an FSIS Certificate (Form 9060-5)
which includes also the AD indicating that ?All fresh/frozen poultry meat, including mechanically
deboned meat (MDM), comes from an area free of high or low pathogenic Avian Influenza".
In the case of imports of animal products, SENASA?s Food Safety Department (DIA) has a registry
of Honduran import establishments which they have inspected (and have made eligible for the
importation of these products). The Honduran establishments must comply with good agricultural
and manufacturing practices (GAPs and GMPs) to keep the imported product safe.
b. Certificate of Origin
The certificate is from the place where the product was produced or manufactured. Products made in
the United States, and shipped from any port must have a certificate indicating the United States as
the country of origin. In the case of products not made in the United States, but distributed by U.S.
companies, the United States Chambers of Commerce can issue a Certificate of Origin which
indicates the country of origin of the product. SENASA reports that often importers are confused
about ?origin? and ?point of shipping?. This might cause error in the documents presented for the
c. Photocopy of Pro-Forma Commercial Invoice
SENASA requires that this document shows the same amounts, description, origin and point of
d. Photocopy of Sanitary Registration
SENASA and the SRD are working together to assure that imported consumer-ready products
destined for consumers will be stored and handled properly, as stated by the Health Code. SENASA
requires that the importer have a consumer-ready Sanitary Registration Number (SRN) to issue the
import permit. SENASA needs a copy of this document only for imports of consumer-ready
e. Photocopy of Import License
Importers of dairy products with the Harmonized Code (HC) from 04.01 to 04.06 and 1901.10.1 and
1901.90.20 should have an import license issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (SIC). The
HCs are for milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheeses, baby formula and powdered milk. Importers will
need to register only once. The license will have a 60-day validity and can be extended at the request
of the importer. In order to issue the import license, SIC needs to have copy of the Import Permit that
SENASA issues to the importer.
For further information, please contact FAS Tegucigalpa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, U.S. exporters may contact SENASA and the Ministry of Health offices by visiting the
following websites: http://www.senasa-sag.gob.hn http://www.dgrs.gob.hn/
D. General Import and Inspection Procedures
Labeling requirements are also set by the Ministry of Health through the Sanitary Regulations
Directorate (SRD). In general, labels of all consumer-oriented products are required to include the
following basic information:
1. Name of the product
2. Name of the manufacturer or distributor
3. Country of origin
4. List of ingredients
5. Net content
6. Lot number
7. Manufacturing and expiration dates
8. Any applicable health warnings
Food products must also adhere to the following labeling requirements:
1. Labels may be made of paper or any other material that can be attached or permanently
printed on the package or container.
2. All writing on labels shall be made in a clear and legible manner and shall not fade under
3. The label must be translated into Spanish with the same information that is given in the
foreign language label.
4. When applicable, the label must state: ?refrigerate after opening?, "for immediate
consumption after opening?, "keep frozen", "artificial", and "treated with radiation".
5. The ?Recommended Daily Allowance? (RDA) of certain additives may be included on the
label. RDA standards may vary from those in the United States since Honduras follows those
6. Labels must be affixed prior to customs clearance and at the time of product registration in the
way the product will be sold.
Legally, products cannot be imported into Honduras with just the standard U.S. label. Stick-on labels
are allowed to fully comply with Honduran labeling requirements on product information, but not to
indicate the manufacturing or expiration date. Stick-on labels for the manufacturing or expiration
date are not accepted because they can easily be altered. The manufacturing and/or expiration date
can only be displayed with stick-on labels authorized by the SRD.
Labels should not indicate the product has therapeutic, healing, or any other attributes not normally
associated with the product. While enforcement of such health claims is often difficult, the SRD
takes special care in ensuring this is the case with products that are widely used by the population and
require added ingredients to increase their nutritional value such as the case of flour, salt, and sugar.
By law, sugar for human consumption must be fortified with vitamin A. Salt must be fortified with
iodine, and wheat flour with iron, folic acid, vitamins B1 and B2, and niacin. The SRD oversees that
these products are properly labeled as fortified.
SAG has delegated the responsibility of all quarantine inspections and treatments of agricultural
imports to the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA). OIRSA?s
Plant and Animal Protection Service (SEPA) inspectors are located at the borders, ports, and
airports. They follow SENASA?s instructions to enforce the import requirements of raw animal and
plant products, as well as processed foods imports at the time of entry.
SEPA and Customs inspectors are involved in clearing imports of these products. SEPA requires at
the port-of-entry the documents indicated by SENASA in the import permit such as: the original
import permit approved by SENASA, the original Phyto or Zoosanitary or Export Certificate, and the
original Certificate of Origin. SEPA also requires a copy of any other document that the import
permit indicates such as the Pro-Forma Commercial Invoice. In cases of consumer-ready products, a
copy of the Sanitary Registration document, issued by the SRD at the Ministry of Health, should be
included. Please note that SEPA reviews that the origin of the product, is the same in the documents
and in the label of the product entering the country. This is required by SENASA since often
importers are confused about ?origin? and ?point of shipping.?
Prior to granting customs clearance, the SEPA inspector reviews all the documents provided and
conducts an inspection of the product. The entry of animal products and by-products depends on the
food safety conditions of the product itself. It also depends on the exporting country?s current animal
health status. The customs clearance is usually granted within a short period of time; however,
depending on the work load at the port and whether or not all of SENASA?s requirements are
complete, the time period can range from a few hours to a couple of days.
In special cases, shipment of products that did not go through SENASA?s import permit process are
normally detained at the port of entry where product sampling is conducted. The samples are later
subjected to laboratory analysis to check the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the
product. If the laboratory analysis indicates that the product does not meet acceptable standards, the
product may be confiscated and later destroyed, re-exported, or tagged for animal consumption,
depending on its condition and characteristics as determined by the authorities. An appeals system
exists for disputed product rejections. The legal department within SENASA addresses these
For additional information on Import Permissions one can access the following websites:
http://www.senasa-sag.gob.hn:8080/senasaextranet and http://www.senasa-
III. MARKET SECTOR ? STRUCTURE AND TRENDS
U.S. exporters should keep in mind the relatively small size of the Honduran market and the high
elasticity of demand for consumer products when devising marketing strategies. Price is one of the
most important elements that influence the receptivity score of most Honduran imports. In many
cases, Honduran business people buy directly from abroad if they feel that the cost of imports
available in the local market is too high. U.S. exporters should carefully analyze both their cost
approach and market approach when making pricing decisions.
U.S. exporters that offer attractive financing terms on sales to Honduran traders have the best chances
of gaining market share. This is particularly true for large-scale projects. It is important to
emphasize, however, that international firms must exercise due caution when granting credit to
Honduran trading partners. U.S. firms should investigate the creditworthiness and reputation of
potential partners before granting credit.
Under CAFTA-DR, tariffs on a wide range of consumer-oriented products for U.S. products were
eliminated, and market demand for U.S. products in this sector looks promising. The category of
other consumer-oriented products comprises has witnessed significant increases in the past few years
for products such as vegetable and animal oil/fats; pop corn; preparations for sauces; and sauces,
spices, mustard. Other consumer-oriented products offering good export opportunities are snack
foods, packaged and canned foods, breakfast cereals, food additives, dairy products, wine, and pet
B. Food Retail Market
Honduras' retail food sector is by far the largest market for imported food. Retail sales of imported
consumer-oriented products are conducted mostly by supermarkets, mini-markets and convenience
stores. The supermarket retailing industry is growing rapidly. Supermarkets have opened stores in
various urban locations and most of the regularly employed population takes advantage of
promotions and buys their food at these supermarkets. Many supermarket chains are also expanding,
remodeling, and modernizing.
Easter, besides being a religious holiday, is also ?summer vacation" time for the vast majority of
Hondurans. This vacation period begins well before, and extends well beyond, the two-day holiday.
Christmas gift baskets are also increasingly popular. In recent years, it has become common to
include a high percentage of U.S. products in these baskets. Most commonly included are traditional
favorites such as candy, nuts, whiskey, and wines. Easter and Christmas are the main peaks for retail
sales. In addition, in June and December of every year the government and private sector by law
provide a bonus to their employees. This bonus is equivalent to a month?s salary. Many families
make special purchases or buy quality products at this time.
Various marketing approaches could be developed for the different sectors. It is always important to
appoint a local distributor in Honduras that can provide good market presence. However, many U.S.
suppliers are discouraged by small initial volumes, and do not provide the needed support. U.S.
exporters looking to establish and maintain a share of the market should be willing to go the extra
mile in developing sales from the ground up and servicing their customers. They should work with
their customers to satisfy local manufacturing and expiration date requirements, and additionally
provide their customers with competitive pricing, credit alternatives, catalogs, and samples to test the
market. They should also be willing to consider sharing advertising costs for launching new brands.
Moreover, they should also be willing to provide technical and sales support, as well as training in
various areas such as category management, merchandising, and product handling.
C. Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Sector
The tourism industry in Honduras has experienced substantial growth supported by the interest of the
Government of Honduras (GOH) and the private sector in developing the industry.
? Total visitors increased from 1.34 million in 2007 to 1.59 million in 2008
? Food and drink establishments remained at 5,381 in 2008
? Hotels establishments remained at 949 in 2008
? US Dollar income from tourists increased from US$552 million in 2007 to US$630 million in
? Cruise ship visitors increased from 297,000 in 2007 to 432,000 in 2008
Whether for interest in historic attractions, sporting activities, or relaxation, tourism plays a
significant role in nearly all of the Central American economies, something which has stimulated
growth in the hotel and restaurant industries. U.S food products geared toward the hotel, restaurant,
and institutional (HRI) sector are therefore increasing in demand.
The hotel industry is rapidly expanding into urban and rural tourism. Among the new projects include
bungalow-type resorts, apartment-hotels, cabins, hostels, and inns. Convention traffic is also
increasing, and the restaurant industry is growing at an even faster rate. Many first-class restaurants,
fast-food chains, and franchises are opening due to attractive incentives. Honduras has the largest
amount of established U.S. fast food and casual dining franchises in Central America. The
development of modern shopping malls and commercial centers has prompted the establishment of
an increasing number of restaurant businesses as well.
The U.S. franchises are in need of raw materials, and the local market cannot always fulfill their
needs. Also, some of the franchise agreements require U.S. raw materials as part of the contract. The
following U.S. franchises and casual dining establishment operate in Honduras:
America?s Favorite Chicken
Little Caesar?s Pizza
Honduras is also carrying out projects to enhance tourism which may provide opportunities for U.S.
food products. One example is the Tela Bay project which is a major priority in the country?s
tourism development strategy. The project, known as ?Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort,? is located
in Honduras within driving distance from San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, two of its three largest cities.
The property set aside for the project covers 312 hectares of land with beach, forest, and lagoon
access. It is majority owned by the Honduran Institute of Tourism. The physical, social, and cultural
characteristics of the project zone, in addition to its careful planning, give the Tela Bay project
everything it needs to become a sustainable tourism destination where profitability and nature are
well balanced. The first phase of the project consists of the construction of an international 250 keys
four-star hotel, a 150 keys international five-star hotel, an eighteen-hole signature championship golf
course and clubhouse (PGA grade), and real estate offerings consisting of 437 residential units.
Additional amenities are include a retail village, an equestrian club, and private beach clubs for the
real estate component among others. Areas have also been set aside for recreational activities,
administration, and public services. All development criteria have been designed to remain flexible.
Basic infrastructure is currently being developed for this project.
D. Food Processing Sector
The total market for food processing in Honduras has increased steadily over the past few years and
further increases are expected in the years to come. The United States continues to be Honduras?
largest supplier of food processing ingredients enjoying a high level of acceptance and reputation for
Honduran exporters are pursuing expansion plans to increase production and improve the quality of
their exports, particularly non-traditional agricultural products such as melons, watermelons,
mangoes, winter vegetables, shrimp, jalapeno peppers, fruits, and flowers. With CAFTA-DR,
producers are looking forward to opportunities of exporting new products to the U.S. market. Every
day, more and more companies are offering processed products such as tortillas, processed wheat, soy
or oats, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
IV. BEST CONSUMER ORIENTED PRODUCTS PROSPECTS
The following is a list of product categories with the best export potential for U.S. suppliers based on
recent export performance, relative ease of entry, and developing trends.
Key Constraints Market
Product Category Over Market Attractiveness for
(U.S.$ in Tariff Rate
All U.S. El Salvador,
Snack Foods 12,843 snack foods Guatemala,
are tariff free. Mexico and
tariff from: Nicaragua,
elimination of Costa Rica,
Prime and Guatemala and
Choice cuts. Canada.
Red Meat, All other
? 0% duty for
Fresh/Chilled/Frozen tariffs on beef
retail & HRI
growth of U.S.
Poultry Meat 7,607 be eliminated
from: Costa Rica
? Tourism is
growing at a
quarters are at
? A developing
All tariffs on
cereals will Competition
be eliminated from: El
need of quality
5,695 within 10 Salvador,
years, expect Guatemala and
for rice Mexico
are tariff free.
Almost all Competition
U.S. fresh from: Chile,
Fresh Fruit 12,977
fruits are Mexico,
tariff free, Guatemala, and
except for Nicaragua
All U.S. Competition
vegetables are from: Costa Rica,
free, except Chile, El
for the Salvador and
Processed Fruit & following: Mexico
Vegetables Frozen Customers are
Vegetables price sensitive
(10 yrs) and
All tariffs on Competition
W wine will be from: Mexico, El ine and Beer
eliminated Salvador, Chile
within 5 and Argentina
3,660 years. Tariffs
on beer will
Source: USDA-BICO Report
V. POST INFORMATION
Office of Agricultural Affairs, American Embassy
Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Phone: (504) 2236-9320 ext. 4354, 4544
Fax: (504) 2236-8342
For more information on exporting U.S. agricultural products, please visit the Foreign Agricultural
Service home page: http://www.fas.usda.gov
VI. KEY CONTACTS
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG)
Ing. Jacobo Regalado, Minister
Blvd. Miraflores, Ave. La FAO
Phone: (504) 2239-8394
Fax: (504) 2231-1921
National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (SENASA)
Dr. José Heriberto Amador, General Director
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG)
Blvd. Miraflores, Avenida La FAO
Phone: (504) 2231-0786
Fax: (504) 2231-0786
Ministry of Health
Dr. Arturo Bendaña, Minister
3 Calle, 4 Ave,
Contiguo Correo al Nacional
Tel. (504) 222-8518, 222-5771
Fax: (504) 222-5226
Ministry of Health
Lic. Enrique Sabillón, General Director
Sanitary Regulation Directorate
Anexo número 1, esquina opuesta a
Tel: (504) 2237-2726
Fax: (504) 2237-2726