The free zones sector grew 8 to 10 percent last year and the country’s textile division exported US$1,450 million, its highest figure to date. Nicaragua is producing high quality knit and activewear, organized sports uniforms, denim and twill bottoms, fleece jackets, shapewear and ladies’ undergarments and offers screen printing and embroidery.
According to García, 2013 was the first time the free zones textile exports volume exceeded their value, which contributed to maintain a sustainable growth during the year. Another aspect that contributed to increase the country’s free zones production levels was the reopening of Cone Denim Mills Nicaragua – now Pride Denim Mills – which provides raw material to the major denim factories.
Nicaragua’s growing textile industry currently generates about 105,000 direct jobs and is responsible for US$700 million of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
This year, with the United States’ economy regaining health, Nicaragua’s textile sector will also benefit from new purchase orders, since the North American market has been one of the most important for this sector.
According to the Office of Textiles and Apparels (OTEXA), Nicaragua is the 11th biggest apparel exporter to the United States in terms of volume and 12th in terms of value. As of November 2013, Nicaragua’s apparel exports to the United States reached US$1,422 million in value and over 437 million square meter equivalents (SME) in volume.