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U.S. Department of State 
Nicaragua Country Commercial Guide 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
 
 
                    FY96 COMMERICAL GUIDE 
 
 
 
This Country Commercial Guide (CCG) presents a comprehensive look at 
Nicaragua's commercial environment through economic, political and 
market analyses.   
 
The CCGs were established by recommendation of the Trade Promotion 
Coordinating Committee (TPCC), a multi-agency task force, to consolidate 
various reporting documents prepared for the U.S. business community.  
Country Commercial Guides are prepared annualy at U.S. Embassies through 
the combined efforts of several U.S. government agencies.   
 
 
SECTION I. 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
 
--OVERVIEW OF IMPORT MARKET 
 
Nicaragua remains an essentially agricultural country, and hence is 
dependent upon imports for provision of many manufactured, processed, 
and consumer items.  High levels of imports over the past 15 years 
($600-$850 million annually) were made possible largely by high levels 
of foreign assistance -- from the Eastern bloc during the 1980's and 
from U.S., European, and Asian donors, and the International Financial 
Institutions since 1990.  With the election of President Chamorro in 
1990, the foreign trade regime was significantly liberalized, and 
consumer imports surged due to pent-up demand.  While that demand has 
cooled somewhat in 1995, Nicaragua remains a strong market for many 
types of U.S. products.  In 1994, Nicaragua imported $185 million of 
U.S. goods, particularly agricultural products, machinery, and consumer 
items, while U.S. market share increased from 20.6 to 24.1 percent. 
 
--BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
The Nicaraguan retail market is relatively small, with no truly large-
scale department stores or other retail operations.  We recommend that 
U.S. companies market their goods via a local agent or distributor; 
potential investors should consider taking on a Nicaraguan partner. 
 
--NICARAGUAN BUSINESS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE U.S. 
 
President Chamorro and the top levels of the Nicaraguan government 
maintain a pro-foreign investment policy.  U.S. goods are sought after 
by Nicaraguan consumers, who view the products as high quality.  Many 
Nicaraguans have traveled to the U.S.; several hundred thousand moved to 
the U.S. during the Sandinista era.  Consequently, the Nicaraguan market 
maintains a decided bias in favor of American products and lifestyle. 
 
--MAJOR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES 
 
Best prospects for U.S. sales include agricultural commodities, 
fertilizer, electrical equipment, franchising, agricultural machinery, 
food processing and packaging machinery, construction equipment, U.S. 
automobiles and spare parts, and telecommunications equipment.  
Investment opportunities exist in the fisheries, mining, timber, and 
non-traditional agricultural goods sectors.  Several large 
infrastructure projects are under way, funded primarily by international 
financial institutions, in the areas of electrical generation, 
roadbuilding, and water system construction. 
 
--MAJOR ROADBLOCKS TO DOING BUSINESS 
 
We would enumerate the major roadblocks as follows: 
 
      --The continuing slow resolution of claims on properties 
confiscated during the Sandinista era (including some 1500 U.S. citizen 
properties) blunts interest in foreign investment. 
 
      --Import tariffs and taxes are high on many items and often not 
assessed on CIF/bill of lading value, but on a reference price 
determined by Customs officials, at times much higher than the actual 
price paid by importers. 
 
      --Nicaragua's intellectual property rights regime is outmoded. 
 
      --Quality certification procedures for the importation of 
pharmaceuticals, while eased in recent months, can be burdensome. 
 
      --Port and highway infrastructure is substandard. 
 
      --Resolution of commercial and investment disputes in Nicaragua is 
unpredictable.  The legal system is cumbersome, and the enforcement of 
judicial determinations is uncertain and often subject to political 
considerations. 
 
      --As of this writing, a conflict between the Executive and 
Legislative Branches over a series of reforms to the Constitution 
remains unresolved, generating uncertainty over the nation's legal 
framework, impeding work on other legislation of importance, and 
dampening investor confidence. 
 
--NATURE OF LOCAL AND THIRD COUNTRY COMPETITION 
 
Since 1990, the makeup of Nicaragua's major trading partners has shifted 
dramatically away from dominance by the Eastern Bloc and Cuba to growing 
relationships with U.S., Western European, and Asian suppliers.  
Nicaragua's industrial sector is small, so local competition for 
processed and manufactured products is non-existent for many products.  
Nicaragua's Central American neighbors and Mexico are important 
competitors in the processed/canned food sector.  Strong third country 
competition exists for rice (Vietnam) and cooking oils (Argentina).  
Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Western European presence in the 
equipment and machinery markets (e.g., telecommunications equipment, 
computers, automobiles, construction and agricultural machinery) is 
notable.  However, the U.S. share of the overall Nicaraguan import 
market has grown from virtually nil during the 1980's to 24.1 percent in 
1994.  We expect that number to expand steadily over the medium term. 
 
 
Country Commercial  Guides are available on the National Trade Data Bank 
on CD-ROM or through the INTERNET.  Please contact STAT-USA at 1-800-
STAT-USA for more information.  To locate Country Commercial Guides via 
the INTERNET, please use the following world-wide web address:  
WWW.STAT-USA.GOV.    CCGs can also be ordered in hard copy or on 
diskette from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 1-
800-553-NTIS. 
 
 
     SECTION II. 
     ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
 
--MAJOR TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
During the period 1990-93, the Government of Nicaragua's economic policy 
focused on making a successful transition from a centralized to a 
market-oriented economy.  The Chamorro administration was also tasked 
with reversing the severe mismanagement of the economy of the Sandinista 
era and the resultant 25 percent drop in real GDP and 50 percent drop in 
GDP per capita during the 1980's. 
 
The main emphasis during this period was upon stabilization of the 
currency -- the córdoba oro -- and implementation of basic structural 
adjustment measures.  The stabilization process has been remarkably 
successful.  Annual inflation fell from 13,490 percent in 1990 to 775 
percent in 1991, 3.5 percent in 1992, 20.4 percent in 1993, and 12.4 
percent in 1994.   The cordoba oro remains stable and is presently 
devalued against the dollar on a crawling peg at the rate of 1 percent 
per month.  During 1994, the average spread between the official 
cordoba/dollar rate and the legal parallel and black market rates was 
2.6 percent. 
 
With respect to structural adjustment measures, the Chamorro 
Administration has successfully privatized more than 325 of the 350 non-
financial public sector companies it inherited from the previous 
administration.  A Superintendency was created to supervise the banking 
sector, which now includes eleven private banks and three state-owned 
institutions.  The Government has reduced tariffs, eliminated most non-
tariff trade barriers, and greatly relaxed foreign exchange controls. 
 
In 1994 these measures came to fruition as the Government registered GDP 
growth of 3.2 percent, the first significant growth in a decade.  
Nevertheless, GDP per capita remained at an estimated $414, the lowest 
in Central America, and one of the lowest in the hemisphere. 
 
Continued economic improvement is anticipated for the period 1995-97 as 
Nicaraguan enters the second year of a 3-year IMF reform program.  
Exports are expected to continue to climb due to high coffee prices and 
the strong performance of non-traditional agricultural exports.  The IMF 
now estimates growth rates of 4.0 percent in 1995, 4.5 percent in 1996, 
and 4.5 percent in 1997. 
 
--PRINCIPAL GROWTH SECTORS 
 
Agriculture, livestock, fisheries, mining, and telecommunications are 
the principal growth sectors for the short term.  Manufacturing and 
commercial activity are expected to remain relatively stagnant. 
 
Agriculture:  Agricultural production accounts for approximately 23 
percent of Nicaragua's GDP.  According to official estimates, production 
increased 16 percent in the 1994/95 cycle (May 1 - April 30) over the 
1993/94 cycle.  Reasons for the growth included a more than 100 percent 
rise in non-traditional agricultural exports (to $61.5 million) and a 
sharp increase in world coffee prices. 
 
Livestock:   Beef production increased 2.6 percent in 1994, and exports 
were up 11 percent in value.  Three slaughterhouses in Nicaragua are 
authorized by the USDA to export to the U.S.    Nicaragua's low 
population density and ample grazing land offer great potential for 
continued expansion of the livestock sector.   
 
Fisheries:  The fisheries sector grew by 35 percent in 1994, led by 
shrimp exports which increased from 3.8 million pounds in 1993 to 7.1 
million in 1994.  Potential exists for continued growth due to extensive 
coastlines on two oceans and substantial fish resources.  Aquaculture 
production has also increased, primarily in the Estero Real near the 
Gulf of Fonseca.  Thirteen companies presently export shrimp from farms 
in the region. 
 
Mining:  Nicaragua was once a major producer of gold and silver, but 
production fell sharply during the 1980's following nationalization of 
the mines.  Approximately 34,000 troy ounces of gold and 84,000 troy 
ounces of silver were produced in 1994, a drop of 16 percent for gold, 
but an increase of 11 percent in silver.   Foreign investors have shown 
great interest in Nicaragua's mines, which have been recently 
privatized.  In addition, several companies have sought concessions for 
new exploration. 
 
Telecommunications:  A proposal for privatization of 40 percent of the 
telephone operations of the state telecommunications entity (TELCOR) is 
presently before the National Assembly.  Actual privatization is 
anticipated sometime in 1995, with five foreign companies expressing 
interest in submitting a bid.  Cellular telephone service, private 
leased-line services, paging and trunked radio service are all presently 
offered in Nicaragua by private companies under license from TELCOR. 
 
--GOVERNMENT ROLE IN THE ECONOMY 
 
In 1990 the Chamorro Administration inherited a centralized economy 
dominated by state enterprises.  Since then, all state monopolies except 
for public utilities and insurance have been eliminated, virtually all 
price controls have been phased out, and more than 325 of 350 state 
enterprises have been privatized.  The Government's role in 
international trade and exchange controls has also been vastly reduced.  
As a result, the percentage of GDP generated by state enterprises has 
declined from 30 percent in 1990 to less than 10 percent today. 
 
Nonetheless, doing business in Nicaragua can still mean becoming 
involved in interagency bureaucratic conflicts.  Many investors complain 
that commitments by one agency or branch of government are sometimes not 
honored by another.   
 
--BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SITUATION 
 
Nicaragua suffers from a chronic severe external accounts deficit which 
has been narrowed slightly as a result of the Government's structural 
adjustment measures.  Nonetheless, Nicaragua remains highly dependent 
upon donor assistance to balance its accounts.  This dependence will 
continue for the foreseeable future.   The IMF estimates balance of 
payments deficits of $488 million in 1995 and $348 million in 1996. 
 
--INFRASTRUCTURE SITUATION, RE:  GOODS/SERVICES DISTRIBUTION 
 
Ports:  Nicaragua has a total of six seaports, all of which are operated 
by the Government-run Port Authority (ENAP).  The most suitable for 
commercial shipping is the Port of Corinto located on the Pacific coast, 
110 miles northwest of Managua.  The Port of Corinto has a capacity of 
1,516,900 tons annually and is presently upgrading its facilities.  
Puerto Sandino, also located on the Pacific coast, is primarily used for 
the import of petroleum.  The remaining Pacific port of San Juan del Sur 
has limited capacity and uses barges to load and unload cargo.  On the 
Atlantic coast, Nicaragua has three seaports (El Bluff, El Rama, and 
Puerto Cabezas).  El Bluff and Puerto Cabezas are basically piers and 
handle limited cargo.  El Rama is a roll-on, roll-off port and is 
located on the Rama River, 40 miles from the coast.  Most containerized 
sea cargo and fresh fruit is shipped by highway to Puerto Limon in Costa 
Rica or Puerto Cortes in Honduras. 
 
Airport:  August Sandino International Airport in Managua has no 
separate cargo facilities, but construction of such infrastructure is 
under way. 
 
On average, there are six scheduled all-cargo flights per week to and 
from Managua, which carry trade primarily with the U.S. and Central 
America.  Primary cargo carriers are Fine Airlines, based in Miami, and 
Nica Airlines, which leases aircraft from the U.S. company, Kalita.  In 
addition, most passenger airlines, including American and Continental, 
maintain some cargo capacity. 
 
Highways:  There are approximately 2,750 miles of paved highways and 
roads in Nicaragua, the majority located in the western part of the 
country.  The Pan-American Highway runs north-south through Nicaragua on 
the Pacific side and carries the majority of overland cargo.  There is 
no all-weather east-west road.  A partially unpaved secondary highway 
runs from Managua to the interior port town of El Rama, from where there 
is river transport to Bluefields.  There are plans to upgrade this road 
with the help of the World Bank.  The unpaved road which winds from 
Managua to the northern Atlantic Coast town of Puerto Cabezas has been 
upgraded and is in adequate condition during the dry season (December-
April). 
 
 
SECTION III. 
POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
 
--NATURE OF BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES 
 
Bilateral relations between the U.S. and Nicaragua are strong.  The USG 
has been supportive of the democratically elected government (since 
1990) of President Violeta Chamorro and her efforts to transform 
authoritarianism to democracy, civil war to peace and reconciliation, 
and a state-dominated economy to free market capitalism.  Since 1990, 
the U.S. has provided more than 1 billion dollars in assistance and 
debt-rescheduling to Nicaragua, for such projects as balance of payments 
support for economic stabilization, primary education, health care 
reform, employment generation, food donations, and the strengthening of 
democratic institutions. 
 
--MAJOR POLITICAL ISSUES AFFECTING BUSINESS CLIMATE 
 
With the help of the U.S., the international financial institutions, and 
other bilateral donors, the GON has made impressive progress regarding 
economic stabilization.  However, there is a series of political 
questions that have dampened investor enthusiasm and prospects for 
strong economic growth -- the property confiscation problem, security in 
the countryside and the rule of law. 
 
At this writing, a Constitutional crisis clouds the 1995 business 
outlook.  A series of Constitutional reforms passed and promulgated by 
the National Assembly has yet to be accepted by the Executive Branch, 
resulting in confusion over which Constitution is in effect. 
 
Civil-military relations took a significant positive step during the 
past year with the passage by the National Assembly of a new military 
law and the peaceful change of military leadership in February 1995.  
Cooperation between the Army, Police, and local growers contributed to a 
successful and peaceful 1994/95 coffee harvest, although human rights 
concerns continue to cloud the military's transition to a fully 
professional, civilian-controlled institution. 
 
--BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF POLITICAL SYSTEM, SCHEDULE FOR ELECTIONS, AND 
ORIENTATION OF MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES 
 
Nicaragua's government is divided into four branches:  a democratically 
elected president with broad executive powers, a 92-person National 
Assembly, a judiciary, often characterized as politicized and 
inefficient, and the Supreme Electoral Council.  Presidential and 
Assembly elections are scheduled for November 1996, with a new president 
to take office in January 1997.  The only scheduled mid-term elections 
took place in February 1994 in the sparsely populated Atlantic Coast 
region.  The elections were deemed free and fair by foreign observers, 
with the Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC -- right-of-center) and the 
FSLN (the Sandinistas) garnering the greatest share of the votes. 
 
Party politics are complex and fragmented in this nascent democracy.  
There are currently 24 registered political parties.   The Sandinista 
party has formally split into two, consisting of the orthodox group 
(FSLN) and a more moderate "Sandinista Renovation Movement" (MRS). 
 
 
SECTION IV. 
MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
 
 
--DISTRIBUTION AND SALES CHANNELS 
 
Distribution and sales of imported products are handled by local 
distributors and agents.  The Nicaraguan retail market is small, and 
there are no truly large-scale department stores or other retail 
operations.   
 
--USE OF AGENTS/DISTRIBUTORS; FINDING A PARTNER 
 
The rights and obligations of agents and distributors are set forth in 
the Law of Agents, Representatives, and Distributors of Foreign Products 
(Decree 13 of January 5, 1980).  This law provides for considerable 
protection of the interests of local agents and distributors; 
termination of a relationshp can prove costly.  Nevertheless, 
partnerships among U.S. and Nicaraguan business interests are common due 
to the historical nexus shared by the two countries.  There is no 
clearinghouse of information for finding a partner in Nicaragua.  It is 
recommended that U.S. companies seeking agents, distributors, or 
partners in Nicaragua purchase the Agent Distributor Service (ADS) from 
the nearest U.S. Department of Commerce District Office, contact the 
Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Managua, the Center for Export 
and Investment (CEI) of the Ministry of Economy and Development, and 
local business chambers.  (See Appendix E for contact information.) 
 
--FRANCHISING 
 
In Nicaragua, there is no specific law regulating franchises.  
Prospective franchisees must follow the general regulations concerning 
foreign investment and starting a business contained in the Commercial 
Code and Foreign Investment Law. 
 
The franchise market for Nicaragua is promising.   Pizza Hut, Hertz, and 
Budget Rent-A-Car franchises, among others, operate in Nicaragua at 
present.  Many Nicaraguans have lived several years outside of the 
country and have grown accustomed to fast food outlets and other 
services appropriate for franchising. 
 
--DIRECT MARKETING 
 
There is little or no direct marketing in Nicaragua at the present and 
no specific law or regulation governs the field.  While limited 
potential for direct marketing exists, an unreliable postal service, 
inconsistent treatment of goods at Customs, and lack of an efficient 
delivery system may create obstacles for profitable direct marketing 
operations. 
 
--JOINT VENTURES/LICENSING 
 
All types of business organizations are governed by the Commercial Code.  
The code permits joint ventures, license arrangements, general and 
limited partnerships, and corporations. 
 
Foreign investors are generally accorded national treatment under the 
Commercial Code.  Nonetheless, investors may wish to register under the 
Foreign Investment Law. 
 
--STEPS TO ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE 
 
There are various ways to constitute an operation in Nicaragua; the two 
most common are as a sole proprietorship or as a corporation. 
 
The three basic steps for organizing a business are as follows: 
 
1.  Register and incorporate the business at the Ministry of Finance.  
After paying the registration fees, a tax identification number must be 
acquired.  (Note:  If incorporating, a notarized letter from the 
corporation's board of directors authorizing incorporation in Nicaragua 
is required.) 
 
2.  Apply for an economic license at the Ministry of Economy and 
Development (MEDE). 
 
3.  Register with the office of the Mayor in the seat of government of 
the Department where the business is located.  At this office, the new 
business may elect to pay a fixed tax quota on sales or contract an 
accountant to maintain detailed records.  If the accountant option is 
chosen, the books must be registered with the Ministry of Finance Office 
of Fiscal Records. 
 
In addition to these steps, additional permits/licenses may be required 
depending upon the business in question.  We would recommend the 
retention of an experienced commercial attorney for any investor 
interested in establishing an operation in-country.   
 
Benefits of the Foreign Investment Law:   
 
Foreign investors may, but are not required to, register investments and 
negotiate a Foreign Investment Agreement with the Ministry of Economy 
and Development.  This guarantees the investor the following privileges 
under the Foreign Investment Law: 
 
      --Repatriation of net foreign capital, less any losses incurred, 3 
years after the capital to be repatriated entered the country. 
 
      --Remittance abroad of the net profits generated by the capital 
registered. 
 
      --Prompt, adequate, and effective compensation in case of 
expropriation for reasons of public utility or social interest. 
 
In addition to the benefits listed above, other tax benefits may be 
individually negotiated depending on the type of business incorporated. 
 
--SELLING FACTORS/TECHNIQUES 
 
Sales and marketing techniques in Nicaragua are still largely 
unsophisticated due to the lack of commercial activity during the 
Sandinista years.  Most advertising takes place on the radio, in 
newspapers, or on billboards.  Major, up-scale promotional activities 
are rare.  As the Nicaraguan economy has liberalized and grown, more 
modern sales techniques including television advertising and direct 
marketing are being employed with greater frequency. 
 
--ADVERTISING AND TRADE PROMOTION 
 
The majority of business advertising and trade promotion in Nicaragua is 
conducted through the print media.  Below are the most commonly utilized 
publications:   
 
Newspapers: 
 
LA TRIBUNA                           LA PRENSA 
Mansion Teodolinda 1/2 c. al sur          Km. 4 Carr. Norte 
Managua, Nicaragua, C.A.           Managua, Nicaragua, C.A. 
Tel:  (505-2) 667581/4                 Tel:  (505-2) 490322 
Fax:  (505-2) 669089                   Fax:  (505-2) 496926 
Circulation:  16,000                   Circulation:  20,000 
 
BARRICADA                          EL NUEVO DIARIO 
Detras del Bolerama	               Km. 3-1/2 Carretera Norte 
Managua, Nicaragua, C.A.           Managua, Nicaragua, C.A. 
Tel:  (505-2) 674727               Tel:  (505-2) 491190 
Fax:  (505-2) 673941               Fax:   (505-2) 490700 
Circulation:  12,000               Circulation:  35,000 
 
Business Journals: 
 
CABLE CENTROAMERICANO              EL OBSERVADOR ECONOMICO 
Apdo 1407                          Del Hospital El Retiro  
Managua, Nicaragua                 2 c. al lago, Apdo 2074 
Tel:  (505-2) 668075               Managua, Nicaragua 
Fax:  (505-2) 668068               Tel:  (505-2) 225304 
                                   Fax:  (505-2) 668711 
 
VISTAZO ECONOMICO                  MUNDO FINANCIERO 
De la Vicky 6-1/2 c. al lago       Del Hotel Intercon. 
No. 390                            1 c. al sur, 1/2 c. abajo 
Apdo Postal 282                    Managua, Nicaragua 
Managua, Nicaragua                 Tel:  (505-2)  281223 
Tel:  (505-2) 72067                Fax:   (505-2) 281220 
Fax:  (505-2) 780810 
 
There are no regularly scheduled trade shows in Nicaragua.  Trade events 
are usually held at the Olof Palme Convention Center in Managua.  For 
the latest event schedule, contact: 
 
               Olof Palme Convention Center 
               General Manager Harvey Mayorga 
               Tel:  (505-2) 281000-05 
               Fax:  (505-2) 225423 
 
(See Appendix G, Trade Events, for more detail.) 
 
--PRICING PRODUCTS 
 
There are no price controls in Nicaragua with the exception of 
pharmaceutical sales margins, sugar, domestically produced soft drinks, 
and some petroleum derivatives. 
 
--SALES SERVICE/CUSTOMER SUPPORT 
 
Most businesses in Nicaragua place little emphasis on sales service and 
customer support.  U.S. and foreign businesses which have made customer 
service a priority have been well received. 
 
--SELLING TO THE GOVERNMENT 
 
Government procurement is governed by the Law of Administrative 
Contracting by the State, Decentralized/Autonomous Agencies, and 
Municipalities (August 28, 1981) and its implementing regulations 
(November 8, 1981).  In theory, the legal framework for procurement 
applies to all government acquisitions in excess of one million cordobas 
(approximately $135,000), and bids are managed by the Ministry of 
Finance's General Directorate of Procurement (GDP).  In practice, many 
government agencies and parastatals engage in direct purchasing outside 
of the legal framework.  In addition, whenever a project is financed, 
even partially, with external funds (e.g., from the IDB, World Bank, 
Central American Bank for Economic Integration), bids are conducted 
according to the procedures of the financing organization. 
 
--PROTECTING YOUR PRODUCT FROM IPR INFRINGEMENT 
 
Patents:  Patent applications must be filed with the Ministry of Economy 
(Sección de Registro de la Propriedad Industrial).  Fees total $230 and, 
on average, there is a 2-3 month delay for issuance.  Protection is 
granted for 10 years, renewable for an additional 10 years. 
 
Copyrights:  Copyright applications must be filed with the Ministry of 
Education (Sección de Registro de Obras Literarias, Cientificas, y 
Artisticas).  Fees total $350 and, on average, there is a 3-month delay 
for issuance.  The protection granted is for the lifetime of the author 
and lifetime of his/her heirs. 
 
Trademarks:  Trademark applications must be filed with the Ministry of 
Economy (Sección de Registro de la Propriedad Industrial).  Fees total 
$330 and, on average, there is a 7-9 month delay for issuance. 
 
Intellectual property rights protection in Nicaragua does not meet 
international standards.  See "Protection of Property Rights" under 
Chapter VII, Investment Climate, for more information. 
 
--NEED FOR LOCAL ATTORNEY 
 
Local attorneys are recommended for all business activities in 
Nicaragua.  There are several firms in Managua with experience in 
international business and with English-speaking attorneys on staff. 
 
 
SECTION V. 
LEADING SECTORS FOR 
U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT 
 
 
--BEST PROSPECTS FOR NON-AGRICULTURAL GOODS AND SERVICES 
 
Franchising:  One U.S. pizza franchise and two rental car franchises 
presently operate in Nicaragua.  There is limited competition from 
third-country sources.  As the Nicaraguan economy grows, we expect 
increasing demand for franchise services across-the-board.  For the 
immediate future, fast food outlets and business service operations are 
in greatest demand. 
 
General legal requirements concerning franchises are contained in the 
Commercial Code and Foreign Investment Law.  There is no specific 
regulatory framework. 
 
Agricultural Machinery:  Agricultural production accounts for 25 percent 
of Nicaragua's GDP.  It is a growing sector, and the Government of 
Nicaragua, as well as the international donor community, is placing 
great emphasis on agricultural reactivation.   
 
In general, Nicaraguan agricultural machinery is outdated and in poor 
repair.  There has been no significant investment in Western technology 
since the mid-70's.  Europe and Brazil offer limited competition in this 
sector.  There is no local production. 
 
Food Processing and Packaging Machinery:  Food and beverage industries 
account for 65 percent of Nicaragua's manufacturing output, which 
totalled approximately $580 million in 1994.  The industry is in great 
need of processing and packaging equipment, especially as it becomes 
more export-oriented and adjusts to international standards.  The best 
prospects are:  fruit extraction machinery, milk processing machinery, 
and peanut processing equipment.  There is no local production in this 
sector. 
 
Construction Equipment:  Construction contributed $89 million to 
Nicaragua's 1994 GDP, or approximately 3 percent of the total.   As the 
Nicaraguan economy expands, this sector should be one of the fastest 
growing.   The greatest need is for equipment for road construction and 
housing.  Italy, Spain, and Japan offer competition for U.S. firms.  
There is no local production. 
 
U.S. Automobile Dealers and Spare Parts:  Many U.S. vehicles were 
imported into Nicaragua when families returned from exile following 
President Chamorro's victory in 1990.  There is considerable demand for 
servicing and parts for these vehicles as well as for new U.S. 
automobiles.  Most spare parts are presently brought in by family or 
friends from the U.S.  At present, there is a GM distributor in Managua 
which sells the following Chevrolet vehicles:  Cavalier, Chevy S-10, and 
Blazer.  There is a Ford distributorship as well, offering Escort, 
Ranger, and taking individual orders for other Ford makes.  There is a 
particular need for heavy and light U.S. trucks and sport utility 
vehicles. 
 
Telecommunications Equipment:  With the privatization of the telephone 
utility set for 1995, demand for telecommunications equipment should be 
strong over the medium term, as the new investors strive to upgrade the 
country's system. 
 
Agro-Chemicals:    Nicaragua imported some $15 million worth of agro-
chemicals in 1994.  As the agricultural sector expands, that figure will 
likely increase.  The most significant imports are urea, fungicides, 
herbicides, and complete formulas.  Third-country competition comes 
mainly from Belgium and from other Central American countries. 
 
Electrical Equipment:  Electricity demand far outweighs supply in 
Nicaragua.  Even with only 44 percent of the population enjoying access 
to electricity, there will be an estimated deficit of 76 gwh in 1995.  
There is opportunity for sales of generators, surge protectors, and 
transformers.   Third-country competition originates mainly in Asia, 
with an emphasis on small, inexpensive units, rather than larger, high 
quality ones.    
 
With the reorganization of the state energy utility in January 1995, the 
GON is placing more importance on energy generation and 
commercialization.  For the first time in many years, the Nicaraguan 
authorities have authorized private firms to build their own plants to 
generate and sell energy.  We expect increasing demand for equipment and 
technical expertise in the field of designing, constructing, and 
operating electrical power plants. 
 
--BEST PROSPECTS FOR AGRICULTURAL SECTOR 
 
Wheat:  U.S. exports of wheat to Nicaragua totalled a record $10.9 
million in 1994.  Total Nicaraguan wheat imports in 1994/1995 are 
estimated at 80,000 MT, all of which is expected to come from the U.S.   
In 1994/95 exports are comprised of about 20,100 MT from the EEP (Export 
Enhancement Program) and about 60,000 MT of commercial sales.  Three 
private mills import wheat into Nicaragua and reportedly are satisfied 
with U.S. quality.   Nicaragua imports primarily spring wheat, but also 
imports small quantities of soft wheat (and on occasion, hard red). 
 
Rice:  U.S. milled rice exports in CY94 totalled $7.4 million, a 39 
percent increase over 1993.  Imports in 1994 from all sources totalled 
about 43,000 MT of which 22,000 MT came from the U.S. 
 
Two private sector rice importers make most large imports, and the GON 
(ENABAS) makes emergency purchases as needed.  U.S. exports of milled 
rice (20 percent broken) are usually in 50 kg bags (which are then 
repackaged locally into smaller bags of 2.2 kg), but small quantities of 
retail-size rice are also exported directly.  Nicaragua is expected to 
continue to import 25-35,000 MT of rice annually over the next few 
years.  Cheaper sales from Vietnam sharply cut U.S. sales in the second 
half of 1993 and first half of 1994, but an April 1994 ban on Asian 
grain imports due to phytosanitary concerns bolstered U.S. sales 
prospects through the remainder of 1994 and into CY95. 
 
Tallow:  In 1994, U.S. exports of tallow were valued at about $4.0 
million dollars.  In FY94, 13,100 MT of tallow were donated to the 
Government of Nicaragua, under the PL-480 Title III Program.  Nicaragua 
produces only about 2,000-3,000 MT of tallow and normally consumes about 
20,000 MT.   The U.S. has been supplying almost all of Nicaragua's 
tallow imports, largely through PL-480 donations.  Since no donations 
are expected for FY95, Nicaragua will fill its demand through normal 
commercial purchases. 
 
Vegetable Oil:  U.S. exports of vegetable oil were valued at $3.1 
million in 1994.  Nicaragua imported an estimated 33,500 MT of vegetable 
oil in 1994, with Argentinian soy oil representing about half of this 
amount and lesser quantities of olein from Malaysia and soy  oil from 
Costa Rica.  Imports of vegetable oil in 1995 are estimated near 1994's 
level.  Although local industry has traditionally imported  only about 
15,000 MT of vegetable oil from the U.S., in CY95 the industry is 
expected to meet its total demand from the U.S.  Competition from other 
suppliers (based on price) will be the key factor affecting U.S. 
exports. 
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced for FY95 a total allocation 
under the Cottonseed Oil Assistance Program (COAP) of 175,000 MT of 
cottonseed oil.  Eight countries are targeted to benefit from this 
program, including 10,000 MT allocated to Nicaragua.  To date, no 
imports have been made under COAP. 
 
Poultry and Livestock Genetics:  U.S. exports of hatching eggs to 
Nicaragua reached a record $2.3 million in 1994.  The U.S. also exported 
baby breeding chicks for broilers valued at $110,694 in 1994.  
Nicaraguan poultry meat output in 1994 was about 56.7 million pounds, a 
12 percent increase over 1993.  The growing poultry meat industry (as an 
inexpensive protein source), high quality U.S. genetics, and adequate 
incubator space have led to increased poultry genetics imports, mostly 
from the U.S.  U.S. technical assistance to the poultry industry, under 
the Emerging Democracies Program, has benefitted the industry (broiler 
and layer) and U.S. genetic sales. 
 
Some opportunities exist for exports of semen for cattle and live cattle 
depending on price and credit options.  U.S. exports in 1994 totalled 
only $33,509, consisting of bull semen; however, larger semen exports 
and some live cattle sales are expected in 1995.  
 
Planting Seeds:  U.S. exports to Nicaragua were valued at $730,000 in 
1994, primarily sorghum hybrid seed.  Nicaragua plans to increase yields 
of basic grains (like sorghum and corn) and is increasing planted area 
of some oilseeds (soybeans, peanuts).  Nicaragua is also increasing 
planted area of different non-traditional fruits and vegetables (e.g., 
melons and onions) which may provide U.S. seed export opportunities. 
 
White and Yellow Corn:   In 1994, U.S. exports of white corn (fit for 
human consumption), totalled about $1.6 million.  The GON (ENABAS) made 
this purchase in mid-1994 as an emergency measure to supply local demand 
as a severe drought affected the corn-growing region on Nicaragua's 
Pacific Coast.  In FY94, 18,000 MT of yellow corn, valued at about $2.4 
million,  were donated to the poultry industry under the PL-480 program.  
No donation is expected for FY95.  However, demand for this product 
exists and all purchases will be met through commercial sales in 1995. 
 
 
SECTION VI. 
TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
 
 
--TRADE BARRIERS, INCLUDING TARIFFS, NON-TARIFF BARRIERS, AND IMPORT 
TAXES 
 
Nicaragua maintains a maximum tariff level (DAI) on virtually all 
imports of 20 percent of CIF value.  An additional Temporary Protection 
Tariff (ATP) of 5-15 percent of CIF value is levied on some 900 imported 
items, largely goods also produced in Nicaragua.  Some 750 other 
products (whether imported or locally produced) are assessed a Specific 
Consumption Tax (IEC), generally limited to 15 percent of CIF value.  A 
stamp tax of 5 percent (ITF) is levied on all imports.  The country's 15 
percent sales tax (IGV) is charged (in a cascading fashion) on entry of 
all imported goods that are not categorized as basic food basket items.  
Overall import taxation levels on so-called "fiscal" goods (e.g., 
tobacco, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages) are particularly high.   
Importers of many types of consumer items confront a total import tax 
burden of 30-45 percent.  Nevertheless, the Government calculates its 
average tariff rate (DAI + ATP + ITF) at only 14.5 percent, which is 
scheduled to be reduced to 10.1 percent by the year 2000. 
 
--CUSTOMS VALUATION 
 
In some cases, tariffs and import taxes are not assessed on a CIF/bill 
of lading basis, but rather on a "reference price" determined by 
Customs.  At times, this reference price is significantly higher than 
the actual amount paid by importers. 
 
--IMPORT LICENSES 
 
Although Nicaragua's Constitution reserves foreign trade as an exclusive 
preserve of the state, in 1991 President Chamorro signed a decree 
mandating pro forma licensing of private export and import transactions.  
In most cases, the issuance of these licenses is little more than a 
formality.  Permits are required only for the importation of sugar.  
Special permission must be sought from the Ministry of Government for 
the importation of firearms and explosives.  U.S. exporters of food 
products should check with the Ministry of Agriculture concerning 
phytosanitary requirements.  
 
--EXPORT CONTROLS 
 
Few export controls remain in place.  GON regulations currently prohibit 
the export of uncut timber, reproductive-phase lobsters, larval shrimp, 
and wildlife/ wildlife products.  The export of capital goods as scrap 
requires the permission of the Ministry of Economy.  Gold exports may 
require special permission of the Central Bank. 
 
--IMPORT/EXPORT DOCUMENTATION 
 
Imports require the following documentation: 
 
     --Bill of lading (for land and maritime shipments) 
     --Packing list 
     --Airway bill (for air shipments) 
     --Invoice 
 
Exports (outside Central America) require the following paperwork: 
 
     --Export certificate 
     --Evidence of registration with the Central Bank's Combined Export 
Registry (RUE) 
     --Customs form as provided by a broker 
     --Copy of general export license for shipments of "traditional" 
goods (coffee, cotton, sugar, meat, shrimp, and lobster) 
 
All export documentation can be processed at the government's one-stop 
export center, CENTRAMEX, located at the Nejapa Shopping Center in 
Managua. 
 
--TEMPORARY ENTRY 
 
Exporters may import inputs (machinery, raw materials, packaging 
materials, etc.) duty free.  Firms located in Las Mercedes Industrial 
Zone, contiguous to the international airport, can conveniently import 
unfinished products for processing, and re-export on a duty-free, in-
bond basis.  This same treatment is accorded to subcontractors of Free 
Zone plants.  Registered foreign investors are allowed to re-export 
equipment and machinery as repatriated capital. 
 
--LABELING/MARKING REQUIREMENTS 
 
A Consumer Protection Law, which is expected to be in effect by mid-
1995, introduces product labeling standards and consumer rights to 
Nicaragua.  While most U.S. products will likely meet Nicaragua 
regulations by following U.S. guidelines, the following should be noted: 
 
      --A label must list product origin, contents, price, weight, 
production date, and expiration date.  Proper use and risk information 
also should be provided.  All information must be in Spanish. 
 
 
 
--PROHIBITED IMPORTS 
 
Few restrictions exist.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and the 
Ministry of Agriculture do regulate the use of agricultural chemicals.  
Military weapons may only be imported by the Armed Forces; import 
shipments of civilian weapons must be accompanied by a license issued by 
the Ministry of Government.  The duties/taxes on a few items (e.g., 
chicken parts with import charges of over 250 percent) are so high that 
sales here may not be feasible. 
 
--STANDARDS 
 
No standards are in place for manufactured and processed products.  
However, standards issued by the Central American Institute of 
Industrial Research and Technology are often used as a guide. 
 
--FREE TRADE ZONES/WAREHOUSES 
 
The state-owned Las Mercedes Industrial Free Zone is located near 
Managua's international airport.   Sixteen firms (Nicaraguan, U.S., 
Asian, and European) are currently operating there; use of the Zone has 
expanded dramatically over the past two years.  Free Zone firms 
currently manufacture clothing, shoes, gold jewelry, bridal supplies, 
and extruded aluminum.  Local law does allow for the establishment of 
private free zones.  At least one group of investors is contemplating 
the establishment of such an enterprise. 
 
--SPECIAL IMPORT PROVISIONS 
 
Importers of pharmaceutical products must provide considerable 
documentation to the Ministry of Health.  Importers of fresh produce, 
livestock, and food products should check with the Ministry of 
Agriculture for the latest phytosanitary regulations. 
 
--MEMBERSHIP IN FREE TRADE ARRANGEMENTS 
 
Nicaragua is a member of the Central American Common Market.  As such, 
the majority of goods produced in these nations are imported duty free.  
The country also enjoys duty-free access to the Mexican and Venezuelan 
markets on a limited number of exports.  Free trade talks between Mexico 
and Nicaragua were suspended in early 1995 due to the Mexican peso 
crisis.  Free trade talks with Colombia and Venezuela are also on hold.   
Nicaragua is a Caribbean Basin Initiative beneficiary; the country is 
currently not a beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences. 
 
 
 
SECTION VII. 
INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
 
 
--OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT/TRADE AND INVESTMENT BARRIERS 
 
The administration of President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, which 
assumed office in February 1990, following 11 years of Sandinista rule, 
has made significant progress in opening Nicaragua to foreign 
investment.  President Chamorro and the top levels of the Nicaraguan 
government have a decidedly pro-foreign investment attitude.  On certain 
limited occasions, some mid-level officials have caused complications 
for foreign investors. 
 
The Foreign Investment Law guarantees foreign investors the right to 
remit 100 percent of profits through the official exchange market and, 3 
years after the initial investment, repatriation of original capital.  
The law also allows 100 percent foreign ownership in most sectors of the 
economy.  To benefit from the law, investments must be approved by a 
Foreign Investment Committee of the Ministry of Economy and Development.  
Foreign investment which does not receive such prior approval is 
permitted, but does not enjoy the repatriation guarantees of the law. 
 
Telecommunications, insurance, water and sewage systems, and power 
generation/transmission remain the exclusive preserves of the state, but 
changes in this policy are soon expected.   The National Assembly is 
presently debating a bill to privatize 40 percent of the telephone 
operations of the state telecommunications agency (TELCOR).   In early 
1995, INE (the government energy agency) was split into two entities, 
the regulatory/policy agency (also called INE) and the power generation 
and transmission firm, ENEL.   ENEL is in the process of negotiating 
power purchase arrangements with potential investors in the electricity 
generation sector, and the privatization of the government's one 
geothermal plant.  De-monopolization of the insurance sector is also 
planned, but no specific date has been set as draft legislation is still 
pending in the National Assembly.  The petroleum sector was recently 
liberalized to eliminate the government's import monopoly, although pump 
prices for regular octane gasoline and diesel, as well as for bunker and 
kerosene, are still set by the government under an interim regime.  Full 
liberalization of petroleum and petroleum derivatives prices is 
anticipated in 1996. 
 
Foreign investors receive national treatment with respect to 
export/import policies and privatization proceedings.  There are no 
onerous visa, residence, or work permit requirements which inhibit 
foreign investment. 
 
Property Rights:  Lack of clear title to property, both urban and rural, 
continues to be a major impediment to investment.  Most of the 
properties in question were confiscated during the Sandinista years and 
redistributed to individuals and cooperatives.  The Government has 
developed a dispute resolution mechanism to either return confiscated 
properties to their original owners or provide compensation in the form 
of government bonds.  Progress has been slow, but has improved in recent 
months with the establishment of a combined government property claims 
resolution office.  The World Bank has initiated a major program to 
assist in the titling of rural lands. 
 
Legal System:  The legal system is inefficient and highly politicized; 
enforcement of judicial determinations is inconsistent.  In contractual 
relationships, mandatory arbitration provisions are an alternative to 
judicial resolution of disputes.  Nicaragua is a member of the 
International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). 
 
Investment Barriers:  In order to receive the benefit of the 1991 
Foreign Investment Law (guaranteed repatriation of profits and 
repatriation of original capital 3 years after the initial investment), 
investments must be approved by an interagency Foreign Investment 
Committee.  These approvals can be time-consuming and contain criteria 
(e.g., approval by the Government's environmental agency) which lack 
clear definition.  Investments may be made without Foreign Investment 
Committee approval, but such investments do not enjoy repatriation 
guarantees. 
 
Licenses:  1-year import/export licenses are issued by the Ministry of 
Economy and Development on an essentially pro forma basis.   
 
State Monopolies:  Insurance remains under exclusive government control, 
along with the provision of basic public utility services. 
 
--CONVERSION AND TRANSFER POLICIES 
 
Dollars are freely available through a legal parallel exchange market 
which in 1994 operated with an average spread of 2.6 percent over the 
official market.  The Central Bank monitors exchange house activity 
through a reporting requirement, but in all other respects the exchange 
houses operate free from government controls.  The relative small size 
of the dollar market may be a limiting factor for large transactions.  
In 1994 the exchange houses engaged in trades of $371 million, a 42 
percent increase over 1993. 
 
We are aware of no instances where a major company or investor has been  
unable to obtain dollars or repatriate earnings or capital.  
Transactions at exchange houses are completed instantly in most 
instances.  Transactions at the  
Central Bank for the purchase of official market dollars generally take 
2 weeks to finalize, but there have been isolated instances during 
periods of low international reserves when delays of 30-60 days were 
encountered. 
 
The U.S. Embassy has local currency expenditures of approximately $2 
million per annum.  Local currency is purchased through the U.S. 
Government Regional Finance Center in Mexico City. 
 
The cordoba oro is presently on a monthly crawling-peg devaluation 
schedule at the rate of 1 percent per month.  That rate is anticipated 
to remain steady throughout 1995. 
 
--EXPROPRIATION AND COMPENSATION 
 
The Embassy is aware of no confiscations of private property which have 
taken place during the Chamorro Administration.  However, more than 
5,000 individuals and corporations (including some 600 U.S. citizens) 
filed property claims against the Government of Nicaragua for 
confiscations which took place during the Sandinista era.  To date, 
approximately 30 percent of U.S. citizen claims have been resolved.  A 
property compensation mechanism is in place, but it has proved 
inadequate to date in resolving the majority of cases.  In those cases 
in which property cannot be returned to original owners, compensation is 
provided in the form of issuance of 15-year Government of Nicaragua 
bonds carrying interest of 3 to 5 percent pegged to the dollar.  There 
is a secondary market for sale of the bonds, although at this writing 
they are transacted at approximately 20 percent of face value.   
 
--DISPUTE SETTLEMENT 
 
The resolution of investment disputes in Nicaragua is unpredictable.  
There is a Commercial Code and Bankruptcy Law, though both are in need 
of revision.  Mortgages and secured property interests are now 
recognized and becoming more common as the private financial system is 
re-established.  On the whole, the legal system is cumbersome, and 
enforcement of judicial determinations is uncertain and often subject to 
political considerations.  Nicaragua is a party to the Inter-American 
Convention on Arbitration and a member of the International Center for 
the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).  Arbitration clauses are 
recommended as a means to avoid the uncertainty of the judicial system. 
 
--POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
 
In general terms, political violence in Nicaragua decreased sharply in 
1994.  However, scattered incidents of political violence continue to 
occur in Nicaragua as the country completes its transition from civil 
war to peace and from an authoritarian government to a democracy.   We 
are aware of no recent instances of political violence directly targeted 
at foreigners or foreign business operations. 
 
The rural mountainous zones, particularly those areas bordering 
Honduras, continue to experience the greatest levels of violence.  This 
has had its most significant economic impact on the cattle and coffee 
sectors.  The roots of the violence are a mixture of political and 
socio-economic factors.  In general, remnants of once-ideologically 
motivated para-military units have degenerated to committing only acts 
of criminal violence.  The fisheries sector in the region of the 
Atlantic Coast has also been subject to isolated violent attacks. 
 
Sandinista influence in labor unions remains strong.  Incidents of labor 
protests have occurred in recent memory, particularly in the transport 
sector, and on occasion isolated acts of violence accompany the 
protests. 
 
--PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS/INCENTIVES 
 
Investors are generally not required to export specific amounts, 
incorporate minimum percentages of local content, agree to transfer 
specific technologies, or meet other performance criteria.  
Nevertheless, each foreign investor who chooses to register under the 
Foreign Investment Law must negotiate an individual "investment 
contract" with the Foreign Investment Committee.  These individual 
contracts might contain performance criteria.  In addition, certain 
sectoral laws -- for example, the fisheries law requires all local catch 
to be processed in Nicaragua -- may contain certain performance 
requirements. 
 
--RIGHT TO PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND ESTABLISHMENT 
 
Both foreign and domestic private entities may establish and own 
business enterprises and profit-making activities.  Local law grants the 
right to freely establish, acquire, and dispose of virtually any type of 
business interest or property, with the exception of those sectors where 
government monopoly is established by law.  The Embassy is aware of no 
instances where private enterprises were not treated on an equal footing 
with public enterprises with respect to access to markets, credit, and 
other business operations. 
 
--PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS 
 
Protection of rights to both tangible and intangible (intellectual) 
property is inadequate in Nicaragua. 
 
     Tangible Property 
 
Although there has been no unlawful seizure of private property during 
the Chamorro Administration, Nicaragua has yet to resolve the cases of 
numerous property claimants whose properties were seized during the 
Sandinista era.  Judicial enforcement of property interests remains 
problematic. 
 
     Intellectual Property 
 
Patents:  Nicaragua's Patent Law is antiquated and in need of revision 
to include protection for computer programs, bio-patents (living 
organisms), films, music, etc.  Protection is limited by short patent 
terms (10 years).  In October 1992, Nicaragua committed, along with its 
Central American neighbors, to accede to the Paris Convention for the 
Protection of Industrial Property.  It has yet to do so.  New patent 
legislation has been submitted to the National Assembly, but is not yet 
under active consideration. 
 
Copyrights:  Copyright protection dates from the 1904 Civil Code and is 
deficient in many respects, including failure to protect sound 
recordings, computer programs and databases.  Video piracy is common and 
not controlled.  New copyright legislation has languished in the 
National Assembly since late 1991.  Nicaragua is a signatory to the 
following copyright conventions: 
 
--   Mexico Convention on Literary and Artistic Copyrights (1902) 
--   Buenos Aires Convention on Literary and Artistic Copyrights (1910) 
--   InterAmerican Copyright Convention (1946) 
--   Universal Copyright Convention (Geneva 1952 and Paris 1971) 
--   Brussels Satellite Convention (1974) 
 
Trademarks:  Trademark infringement remains a potential problem area for 
Nicaragua.  Although few instances of infringement involving U.S. 
companies have been reported, current Nicaraguan procedures allow 
individuals to register a trademark without restriction, at a low fee, 
for a period of 15 years.  The Central American Convention for the 
Protection of Industrial Property, of which Nicaragua is a signatory, 
was revised in November 1994.  The Convention has been signed by the 
Executive Branch, but has not yet been ratified by the National 
Assembly. 
 
Trade Secrets:  There is no trade secret protection. 
 
Semi-conductor Chip Layout Design:  There is no protection for these 
works. 
 
--REGULATORY SYSTEM:  LAWS AND PROCEDURES 
 
Despite significant streamlining during the past 5 years, Nicaragua's 
legal and regulatory framework remains cumbersome and an impediment to 
investment.  The rules are not transparent, and much business is still 
conducted on a "who you know" basis.  Lack of reliable dispute 
resolution mechanisms -- whether judicial or administrative -- 
complicates even relatively minor disputes with the authorities or 
Nicaraguan business contacts. 
 
Tax policy has been simplified.  The Central Government imposes the 
following taxes:  tariffs and stamp taxes for imports, a consumption tax 
for 900 domestic and imported products, a temporary protective tariff on 
750 imported items, a general sales tax on all goods and services 
(except essential consumer goods), and a corporate and personal income 
tax.  The Municipality of Managua also imposes a 2 percent ad valorem 
tax on all goods and services whether or not the sale is consummated in 
Managua.  Employers must make a contribution to social security and 
worker training funds for each employee.  Many businessmen regard these 
as additional taxes in that the paid-for services are rarely provided. 
 
The Labor Code contains many provisions concerning hiring/firing of the 
workforce and benefits.  It is presently undergoing revision before the 
National Assembly.  We recommend that potential investors consult the 
new law prior to initiating business activities. 
 
--BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS 
 
Nicaragua has signed bilateral investment agreements with Spain, Taiwan, 
Denmark, and the Netherlands.  The Government is currently discussing 
similar agreements with the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, 
Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Ecuador, Sweden, and South 
Korea. 
 
--OPIC AND OTHER INVESTMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS 
 
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation offers financing for 
U.S. investments in Nicaragua.  It also can provide political risk, 
expropriation, and inconvertibility insurance.  Nicaragua is a member of 
the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 
 
--LABOR 
 
Nicaragua's labor force, estimated at 1.54 million workers, is rural-
based and largely unskilled.  37 percent of the economically active 
population is employed in the agricultural sector, 17 percent in the 
manufacturing sector, and 46 percent in the service sector.  The 
Government estimates an unemployment rate of 23 percent and 
underemployment rate of 28 percent; the World Bank pegs unemployment at 
13 percent.  
 
Nicaragua has the lowest population density in Central America.  There 
is a shortage of skilled technicians and managerial personnel, although 
the situation is improving as members of the business and professional 
classes return from exile. 
 
The high unemployment and underemployment rates have eroded the strength 
of the trade union movement.  Approximately one-third of the unionized 
labor force belongs to militant Sandinista unions.  Workers freely 
exercise their right to strike.  Under the present Labor Code (presently 
under revision by the National Assembly), workers may strike only after 
they have exhausted other methods of dispute resolution, including 
mediation by the Ministry of Labor.  Nevertheless, labor strife does on 
occasion take place and can be politically motivated. 
 
Since President Chamorro came into office in April 1990, a number of 
independent (or "democratic") unions have been formed.  Domestic and 
foreign investors generally prefer working with these unions. 
 
--FREE TRADE ZONES/FREE PORTS 
 
Free trade zones are permitted in Nicaragua pursuant to a Presidential 
decree issued in 1991.  Companies operating in these zones are eligible 
for exemptions in income tax, value-added tax, tariffs, export taxes, 
and other fiscal measures.  Free zone firms must comply with Nicaraguan 
labor law.  Private free trade zones are authorized, but none currently 
operates.  Free trade zone benefits apply equally to foreign and 
national firms. 
 
At present, one Government-owned free trade zone (Las Mercedes) is in 
operation near the Sandino International Airport in Managua.  Sixty-five 
percent of the zone has been developed, with sixteen firms (Nicaraguan, 
U.S., Asian, and European) presently operating there.  Free zone firms 
currently manufacture apparel, shoes, gold jewelry, bridal supplies, and 
aluminum frames.  The free trade zone currently employs 6,000 
individuals, with plans to increase to 9,000 employees by year-end 1995. 
 
75 percent of the exports are to the U.S., with the remainder to Central 
America.  In calendar year 1994 valued-added exports from the free trade 
zone totalled USD 37 million, up from USD 19 million in 1993.  Free 
trade zone authorities estimate 1995 exports will increase to USD 44 
million. 
 
--CAPITAL OUTFLOW POLICY 
 
Repatriation of original capital of foreign investments through the 
official market is governed by the Foreign Investment Law.  The Embassy 
is aware of no restrictions on the export of capital by Nicaraguan 
citizens and businesses.  Foreign exchange is readily available as well 
on Nicaragua's parallel foreign exchange market. 
 
--MAJOR FOREIGN INVESTORS 
 
     --ESSO STANDARD OIL, petroleum refiner and a major distributor of 
petroleum derivatives. 
 
     --INDUSTRIAS KATIVO and H.B. FULLER, paint and paint-related 
preparations manufacturer and distributor. 
 
     --TEXACO CARIBBEAN, sales of petroleum derivatives; parent company:  
Texaco Inc. 
 
     --HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL, acquired by Taiwanese investors. 
 
     --HOTEL MONTELIMAR, acquired by the Spanish Barcelo Group. 
 
     --BAYER QUIMICAS UNIDAS with German, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan 
investment; production of agro-chemical products primarily for domestic 
consumption. 
 
     --PEPSI-COLA, soft drink manufacturer (majority of capital is 
foreign but not PEPSICO, INC.). 
 
     --TANIC, S.A., Nicaragua's tobacco company, with majority British 
investment; controls 99 percent of cigarette sales in Nicaragua. 
 
     --TRITON, a Canadian-owned mining company with gold mining 
interests. 
 
     --HEMCO, a U.S.-owned mining concern. 
 
     --CRESSIDA, a Honduran-owned tomato processing plant. 
 
     --GULF KING/OCEANIC, a U.S. and Nicaraguan mixed fisheries and 
seafood processing operation. 
 
     --SAN MARINO SEA FARMS, an aquaculture operation with Nicaraguan 
and U.S. capital. 
 
     --SHELL NICARAGUA, petroleum distributor. 
 
 
 
SECTION VIII. 
TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
 
 
--BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BANKING SYSTEM 
 
There are fourteen commercial banks operating in Nicaragua, three are 
state-owned and eleven are private.  With the exception of the smallest 
state bank, all have correspondent relations with banks in the U.S., 
Europe, and Canada.  All banks accept deposits in dollars as well as 
cordobas. 
 
The Superintendency of Banks is the bank regulatory agency.  It was 
established in 1991 with assistance from the U.S. Agency for 
International Development (AID), and functions as an independent 
regulatory entity.  Management of the Superintendency to date has been 
professional, independent of political pressure, and in accordance with 
international standards.   
 
--FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS AFFECTING TRADING 
 
The Chamorro Administration has removed virtually all foreign exchange 
controls.  A legal parallel exchange market operates free from 
government restrictions and is growing.  In 1994, the market engaged in 
purchases/sales valued at $371 million, a 42 percent increase over 1993. 
 
Foreign exchange generated from the export of most traditional products 
(e.g., beef, coffee, sugar, cotton) must be surrendered to the Central 
Bank, although private banks can accept the dollars as agents of the 
Central Bank.  Remittance of profits generated through foreign 
investments, as well as original capital three years following 
investment, is guaranteed for those investments registered under the 
Foreign Investment Law.  Investors who do not register their capital may 
still make remittances through the parallel market, although these 
transactions are not guaranteed by law.  Embassy is aware of no investor 
who has encountered remittance difficulties since inception of the 
Foreign Investment Law in 1991. 
 
--FINANCING AVAILABILITY 
 
Nicaragua's capital base is small and the financial system has limited 
assets.  Total assets for the Nicaraguan financial system as of December 
31, 1994, reached approximately $889 million.  Long-term financing is 
scarce; approximately 50 percent of the outstanding loan portfolio for 
the financial system consists of loans of one year or less. 
 
Interest rates are established by the market.  At present, rates range 
from 16-25 percent for short-term loans and 14-20 percent for long-term 
loans with "maintenance of value" provisions. 
 
The Foreign Investment Law limits access by foreign investors to 
domestic financing to short-term working capital.  Real estate mortgages 
are limited to 3-5 years, and chattel mortgages are generally 
unavailable without a guarantee issued by a foreign bank. 
 
--HOW TO FINANCE EXPORTS/METHODS OF PAYMENT 
 
Exports are financed through existing resources of the banking system or 
through funds of second-tier institutions, primarily the National 
Investment Finance Company (FNI) or the Central American Bank for 
Economic Integration (CABEI).  Export financing through the local banks 
is mostly short-term and carries higher interest rates than funds 
obtained through FNI or CABEI. 
 
Various methods of payment are utilized for export financing, the most 
common being on-sight and on-delivery.  Virtually all Nicaraguan banks 
have correspondent relationships with U.S. banks (see "List of Banks 
with Correspondent U.S. Banking" below). 
 
--TYPES OF AVAILABLE EXPORT FINANCING AND INSURANCE 
 
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) provides 
financing and insurance for investments with U.S. investor 
participation.  OPIC offers loans and loan guarantees for projects with 
a minimum 25 percent U.S. investor beneficial interest and political 
risk insurance covering currency inconvertibility, expropriation, and 
political violence.  It also provides specialized coverage for leasing, 
oil and gas exploration, natural resources, and contractors. 
 
The U.S. Export-Import Bank does not presently provide coverage for 
Nicaragua.  However, EXIM Bank maintains a regional $50 million medium-
term credit guarantee facility for capital equipment through the Central 
American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). 
 
Nicaragua is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency 
(MIGA). 
 
--PROJECT FINANCING AVAILABLE 
 
Substantial project financing is available through FNI and CABEI.  FNI 
manages a series of funds from the international donor community, 
including projects for non-traditional exports, small business support, 
renovation of coffee plantations, and assistance to the livestock 
sector.  CABEI manages project funds for a variety of purposes, 
including road construction, rehabilitation of the free trade zone, 
energy generation, and housing. 
 
Public sector financing is also administered directly by the 
international donor community.  The InterAmerican Development Bank, 
World Bank, USAID, UNDP, and several other governmental and non-
governmental organizations maintain active project portfolios in 
Nicaragua. 
 
--LIST OF BANKS WITH CORRESPONDENT U.S. BANKING 
 
Private Nicaraguan banks have the following correspondent U.S. banks: 
 
      Banco de America Central (BAC)   
 
          Popular Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
 
      Banco de Credito Centroamericano (BANCENTRO) 
 
          Barnett Bank, Miami, FL 
          Barclays Bank PLC, Miami, FL 
          Deustch Sudamerikanische Bank Aktiengesellschaft, Miami, FL 
          First Union National Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Hamilton Bank, N.A., Miami,FL 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Popular Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Citibank, N.A., New York, NY 
 
      Banco de Exportacion, S.A. (BANEXPO) 
 
          Bankamerica International, Miami, FL 
          Pacific Industrial Bank, Miami, FL 
          American Express Bank International, Miami, FL 
          Banco Panamericano, S.A., Miami, FL 
 
      Banco Mercantil 
 
          Republic National Bank, Miami, FL 
          Hamilton Bank, N.A, Miami, FL 
          Intercredit Bank, N.A., Miami, FL 
          Deustsch Sudamerikanische Bank Aktiengesellschaft, Miami, FL 
          Chemical Bank, New York, NY 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          International Bank of Miami, Miami, FL 
          Key Biscayne Bank, Key Biscayne, FL 
 
      Banco de la Produccion, S.A. (BANPRO) 
 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, Miami, FL 
          Bankamerica Internacional, Miami, FL 
          Popular Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          St. George Investments, Inc., Miami, FL 
 
      Banco de Prestamos, S.A. (BANPRES) 
 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Banco Atlántico, Miami, FL 
 
      Banco Intercontinental, S.A. (Interbank) 
 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, Miami, FL 
 
State-owned Nicaraguan banks have the following correspondent U.S. 
banks: 
 
      Banco Nacional de Desarrollo (BANADES) 
 
          Wells Fargo Bank, Los Angeles, CA 
          Lloyds Bank, Los Angeles, CA 
          Melon Bank, Philadelphia, PA 
          Continental Bank, Chicago, IL 
          Sanwa Bank Limited, Chicago, IL 
          Northern Trust Company, Chicago, IL 
          Whitney National Bank, New Orleans, LA 
          Maryland National Bank, Baltimore, MD 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Deutsch Sudamerikanische Bank Aktiengesellschaft, 
          Miami, FL 
          Popular Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          First Union National Bank, Miami, FL 
          Amtrade International Bank, Miami, FL 
          Wells Fargo International Bank, Miami, FL 
          Marshall and Illsley Bank, Milwaukee, WI 
          First Wisconsin National Bank, Milwaukee, WI 
          Bank of New York, New York, NY 
          Marine Midland Bank, New York, NY 
          Chemical Bank of New York, New York, NY 
          Security Pacific International Bank, New York, NY 
          Merchants Bank of New York, New York, NY  
          Citibank, New York, NY 
          Philadelphia International Bank, New York, NY 
          Mercantile Bank, St. Louis, MO 
          First Union National Bank, Charlotte, NC 
          Nationsbank of North Carolina, N.A., Charlotte, NC 
          Southern National Bank of North Carolina,  
          Charlotte, NC 
          Society National Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 
          Union Commerce Bank, Cleveland, OH 
          Huntingdon National Bank of Columbus, Columbus, OH 
          Texas Commerce Bank, Houston, TX 
          Bankers Trust International, Houston, TX 
 
      Banco Nicaraguense de Industria y Comercio (BANIC) 
 
          Nationsbank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Popular Bank of Florida, Miami, FL 
          Intercredit Bank, N.A., Miami, FL 
          Bank of America International, Miami, FL 
          First Union National Bank, Miami, FL 
          Chemical Bank, New York, NY 
 
      Banco de Credito Popular (BCP) 
 
      BCP has no correspondent relationships with U.S. banks, but 
through BANIC has the capacity to conduct international operations with 
U.S. institutions. 
 
 
SECTION IX. 
BUSINESS TRAVEL 
 
 
--BUSINESS CUSTOMS 
 
Business customs are informal.  The use of coats and ties or business 
suits is rare.  Delays are common in the start of scheduled 
appointments, and flexibility in business travel is recommended.  
Business lunches are lengthy, and most Nicaraguan executives are 
unavailable between 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. 
 
Informal dress (open collar shirts and slacks for men; dresses or skirts 
and blouses for women) is appropriate for all meetings.  Long-sleeve 
dress shirts are recommended for evening business events. 
 
--TRAVEL ADVISORY AND VISAS 
 
No Department of State travel advisory is in effect for Nicaragua at 
present.  However, travelers are encouraged to check with their travel 
agent or contact the Department of State at (202) 647-6575 prior to 
initiating travel to obtain the latest consular information sheet 
concerning Nicaragua.  U.S. citizens do not need to obtain a visa for 
visits of less than 30 days.  Tourists cards are required and may be 
obtained upon entry for $5.00.  Visas are required for stays of 30 days 
or greater and individuals wishing to establish themselves in the 
country must request a resident visa from the Office of Immigration.  
There is a departure tax of $12.00. 
 
--HOLIDAYS 
 
The following holidays are observed in Nicaragua: 
 
     New Year's Day                January 1 
     Holy Thursday                 Variable 
     Good Friday                   Variable 
     Labor Day                     May 1 
     Sandinista Revolution Day     July 19 
     Festival of Santo Domingo     August 1 
     Battle of San Jacinto         September 14 
     Independence Day              September 15 
     Immaculate Conception Day     December 8 
     Christmas Day                 December 25 
 
--BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE 
 
Transportation:   Nicaragua has a highway network of 9,550 miles, 
consisting of 1,000 miles of paved highways, 1,750 miles of paved roads, 
3,200 miles of all season unpaved roads and 3,400 miles of dry season 
unpaved roads.   
 
Nicaragua has a total of six seaports, all of which are operated by the 
Government-run Port Authority (ENAP).  The most suitable for commercial 
shipping is the Port of Corinto located on the Pacific Coast, 110 miles 
northwest of Managua.  The Port of Corinto has a capacity of 1,516,900 
tons annually and is presently upgrading its facilities.  Puerto 
Sandino, also located on the Pacific Coast, is primarily used for the 
import of crude petroleum.  The remaining Pacific port of San Juan del 
Sur has limited capacity and uses barges to load and unload cargo.  On 
the Atlantic Coast, Nicaragua has three seaports (El Bluff, El Rama and 
Puerto Cabezas).  El Bluff and Puerto Cabezas are basically piers and 
handle limited cargo.  El Rama is a roll-on, roll-off port and is 
located on the Rama River, 40 miles from the coast.  Most containerized 
sea cargo and fresh fruit is shipped by highway to Puerto Limon in Costa 
Rica or Puerto Cortes in Honduras. 
 
Managua's Cesar Augusto Sandino International Airport is located 7 miles 
from the capital city and handles all international passenger and cargo 
to and from Nicaragua. 
 
Language:  The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish, but English is 
widely spoken in business and government circles. 
 
Telephone Communications:  Nicaragua's communication system (telephone, 
telex, telefax, etc) is presently being updated with the installation of 
fiber optic technology.  Approximately one out of 110 households in 
Nicaragua has a telephone line.  Public phones are just beginning to 
operate all over the country.  Cellular phones are now available in 
Nicaragua with coverage over the entire Pacific Coast.  Approximate cost 
per minute is USD 0.40 cents.  Communications with the U.S. are readily 
available; AT&T, Sprint, and MCI maintain direct line service to the 
U.S. 
 
Housing and Hotels:  The following hotels in Managua cater to the 
international business traveler: 
 
          Hotel Camino Real        Tel:  (505-2) 631410 
                                   Fax:  (505-2) 631380 
 
          Hotel Intercontinental   Tel:  (505-2) 286991 
                                   Fax:  (505-2) 283087 
 
         Hotel Las Mercedes        Tel:  (505-2) 631715 
                                   Fax:  (505-2) 631082 
 
         Hotel Mansion Teolinda    Tel:  (505-2) 281323 
                                   Fax:  (505-2) 224908 
 
         Hotel Ticomo              Tel:  (505-2) 650210 
                                   Fax:   (505-2) 651529 
 
Approximate cost for a single room in any of these hotels is from USD 60 
to USD 180  per night. 
 
There are no first-class apartment buildings in Nicaragua.  There is an 
ample supply of houses for rent, but rental costs are high, from USD 750 
to USD 1,500 for a 3-bedroom house in safe neighborhoods. 
 
Food:  Several restaurants in Managua offer first-class international 
and continental cuisine.  Outside of the capital, the local diet 
consists of chicken, beef, fish, rice, beans, plantains and potatoes. 
 
Health:  Health conditions in Nicaragua are improving, although it 
remains a tropical country with the presence of such diseases as 
cholera, malaria and dengue fever.    It is recommended that sanitary 
practices be carefully followed, particularly outside of Managua. 
 
Typhoid, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and gamma globulin (or Hepatitis A) 
are recommended vaccinations prior to leaving the U.S., particularly if 
the visit is to be for any length of time. 
 
Local hospitals can be used for many conditions.  However, they fall 
short of U.S. standards of care.   There are few U.S.-trained 
physicians.   There are many pharmacies with adequate supplies of most 
commonly used medications. 
 
 
SECTION X. 
APPENDICES 
 
 
--APPENDIX A -- COUNTRY DATA 
 
                                   1994      1995      1996 
 
Population (millions)              4.40      4.54      4.68 
 
Population Growth Rate (%)         3.28      3.18      3.08 
 
Religion(s)                          95% Catholic 
 
Government System                  Democratic 
 
Languages                          Spanish, English (on the 
                                   Atlantic Coast) 
 
Work Week                          By law, 6 days (48 hours) 
 
 
--APPENDIX B -- DOMESTIC ECONOMY (FOR 1994, 1995, AND 1996 ESTIMATE) 
(USD Millions except where noted) 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
 
GDP                           1,821.6   1,894.5   1,979.8 
GDP Growth Rate (%)               3.2       4.0       4.5 
GDP Per Capita	              414.0     417.1     423.0 
Government Spending  
     as % of GDP                 39.9      37.2      35.0 
Inflation (Percent)              12.4      10.0      10.0 
Unemployment (Percent)           23.5      24.9      24.0 
Foreign Exchange Reserves  
     (Gross)                    139.6     184.2     349.5 
Average Exchange Rate for $1.00   7.0       7.6       8.5 
Foreign Debt                 11,700.0  12,150.0  12,600.0 
Debt Service Ratio (Ratio  
     of Principal and Interest 
     Payments on Foreign Debt 
     to Foreign Income)          0.42      0.49      0.50 
Economic/Military Assistance     91.0      22.8      33.3 
            from U.S. (FY)              (est)   (req.) 
 
-- APPENDIX C -- TRADE (FOR 1994, 1995, AND 1996 ESTIMATE) (In USD 
Millions except where noted) 
 
                                 1994      1995      1996 
Total Country Exports           351.0     428.0     467.0 
Total Country Imports           785.0     858.0     875.0 
U.S. Exports to Nicaragua       185.5     260.0     265.0 
U.S. Imports from Nicaragua     166.8     167.5     172.0 
 
--APPENDIX D -- INVESTMENT 
 
There are no reliable local statistics concerning foreign direct 
investment in Nicaragua.  According to U.S. Department of Commerce 
estimates, as of year-end 1993, U.S. direct investment in Nicaragua 
amounted to $108-116 million.  We believe U.S. capital represents at 
least half of all foreign direct investment. 
 
--APPENDIX E -- U.S. AND COUNTRY CONTACTS 
 
      --U.S. EMBASSY TRADE PERSONNEL 
 
          Department of State 
          Chief, Economic/Commercial Section, Sandra Dembski 
          U.S. Embassy Managua 
          Unit 2703 Box 2 
          APO AA 34021 
          TEL:  (505-2) 662291/666010, ext. 226;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 669056 
 
          Economic/Commercial Officer Nancy Nelson 
          U.S. Embassy Managua 
          Unit 2703 Box 2 
          APO AA 34021 
          TEL:  (505-2) 662291/666010, ext. 226;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 669056 
 
          Commercial Assistant Javier Torres 
          U.S. Embassy Managua 
          Unit 2703 Box 2 
          APO AA 34021 
          TEL:  (505-2) 666010, ext. 225;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 669056 
 
          Department of Agriculture 
          Regional Agriculture Attache Scott Bleggi  
          U.S. Embassy San Jose  
          APO AA 34020 
          TEL:  (506) 220-3939; FAX:  (506) 220-2305 
 
          Agricultural Assistant Silvio Castellon 
          U.S. Embassy Managua 
          Unit 2703 Box 2 
          APO AA 34021 
          TEL:  (505-2) 666010, ext. 343;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 669056 
 
          Department of Commerce 
          Partnership Post Commercial Attache Maria Galindo 
          U.S. Embassy San Jose 
          APO AA 34020 
          TEL:  (506) 220-2454; FAX:  (506) 220-4783 
 
     --WASHINGTON-BASED USG COUNTRY CONTACTS 
 
          Department of State 
          Nicaragua Desk Economic Officer Judy Beulow 
          ARA/CEN Rm 4915 Main State 
          Washington, D.C. 20520 
          TEL:  (202) 647-3727; FAX:  (202) 647-2597 
 
          Nicaragua Desk Political Officer Bill Nemeth 
          ARA/CEN Rm 4915 Main State 
          Washington, D.C. 20520 
          TEL:  (202) 647-1510; FAX:  (202) 647-2597 
 
          Department of Commerce 
          Nicaragua Country Desk Officer Mark Siegelmann 
          Office of Latin America/Caribbean Basin Division 
          Rm 3021 - 14th & Constitution Avenue NW 
          Washington, D.C. 20230 
          TEL:  (202) 482-5680; FAX:  (202) 482-4726 
 
          Multilateral Development Bank Office 
          Director Brenda Ebeling 
          14th and Constitution NW 
          Washington, D.C.  20007 
          TEL:  (202) 482-3399; FAX:  (202) 492-5179 
 
          TPCC Trade Information Center 
          TEL:  (800) USA-TRADE 
 
          Latin American/Caribbean Business Development 
          Center 
         (U.S. Department of Commerce) 
          Agribusiness Development Ofcr Thomas E. Wilde Jr. 
          Room H3203 
          Washington, D.C. 20230 
          TEL:  (202) 377-0703; FAX:  (202) 377-2218 
 
          Department of the Treasury 
          Nicaragua Country Desk Officer Anthony Marcus 
          15th & Pennsyvlania Avenue 
          Rm 5413 
          Washington, D.C. 20220 
          TEL:  (202) 622-1218; FAX:  (202) 622-1273 
 
          Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) 
          Insurance Officer Gustavo de Lucio 
          1100 New York Avenue NW 
          Washington, D.C. 20527 
          TEL:  (202) 336-8777; FAX:  (202) 408-5142  
 
          U.S. Customs Service 
          Attache for Central America/Caribbean  
          Robert J. Fernandez 
          10800 Sunset Drive, Suite 380 
          Miami, FL 33173 
          TEL:  (305) 596-6405; FAX:  (305) 596-1973 
 
          Department of Agriculture 
          International Economist Leslie O'Connor 
          Inter-Americas Division/International Trade Policy 
          Foreign Agriculture Service 
          USDA Rm 5524 South 
          Washington, D.C. 20250 
          TEL:  (202) 720-1277; FAX:  (202) 690-2709 
 
          Foreign Agricultural Service 
          Trade Assistance and Promotion Office 
          TEL:  (202) 720-7420 
 
     --AMCHAM AND/OR BILATERAL BUSINESS COUNCILS 
 
          Nicaraguan American Chamber of Commerce in Miami 
          President Silvio Solorzano Pellas 
          444 Brickell Avenue, Suite 51-168 
          Miami, FL 33131 
          TEL:  (305) 448-2495; FAX:  (305) 375-0362 
 
          Assoc. of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America 
(AACCLA) 
          President David Ivy 
          1615 H Street NW 
          Washington, DC 20062-2000 
          TEL:  (202) 463-5485; FAX:  (202) 463-3126 
 
          Camara de Comercio Americana de Nicaragua 
          (Nicaraguan/American Chamber of Commerce) 
          Executive Director Susan de Aguirre 
          Transfer UNAN 500 mts. al sur 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 673099, 673633; FAX: (505-2) 673098 
 
     --NICARAGUAN TRADE OR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS IN KEY SECTORS 
 
          Centro de Exportaciones e Inversiones (CEI) 
          (Center for Exports and Investment)  
          Executive Director Hugo Paguaga 
          Edificio Oscar Perez Casar  
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 783075/783079; FAX:  (505-2) 783129 
 
          Camara de Comercio de Nicaragua (CACONIC) 
          (Chamber of Commerce of Nicaragua) 
          General Manager (Lic.) Róger A. Cerda 
          Frente al Edificio de la Lotería Naciónal 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 671946, 670718, 674713;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 780820 
 
          Camara de Industrias de Nicaragua (CADIN) 
          (Chamber of Industries of Nicaragua) 
          President Alberto Chamorro;  
          Secretary (Dr.) Gilberto Solis 
          De los semáforos de Plaza España 300 mts al sur 
          Donde fue TURNICA 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 668847-51; FAX:  (505-2) 661891 
 
          Asociacion de Distribuidores de Productos de Consumo de 
Nicaragua 
          (Association of Consumer Product Distributors) 
          General Manager América de Urtecho 
          Km 4-1/2 Carretera Norte, Módulo 12,  
          Oficentro Norte, Antiguo local SOVIPE 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 41230, 41330, 495108;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 42563 
 
          Camara de Construcción de Nicaragua 
          (Nicaraguan Chamber of Construction) 
          President (Ing.) Mario Montenegro C. 
          Colonia Mántica 
          Ferretería Roberto Reyes   
          25 mts abajo 75 mts al sur 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 666525/528; FAX:  (505-2) 668169 
 
          Camara de Urbanizadores y Desarrolladores 
          (Chamber of Real Estate Developers) 
          President (Arq.) Eddy Jerez Paguaga 
          Centro Commercial Zumen, Módulo No. 5,  
          Contiguo a KODAK 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 651947; FAX:  (505-2) 651893 
 
          Camara de la Pesca de Nicaragua (CAPENIC) 
          (Fishing Chamber) 
          General Manager Miguel Marenco 
          Camino de Oriente, Edificio B, Módulo 6 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 787091; FAX:  (505-2) 787054 
 
          Camara Minera de Nicaragua (CAMINIC) 
          (Mining Chamber) 
          Executive Director Frank Mena 
          Bo. Bolonia, del Porton del Retiro 1 c. al lago 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 669623; FAX:  (505-2) 669727 
 
          Consejo Superior de Empresas Privadas (COSEP) 
          (High Council for Private Enterprise) 
          President (Ing.) Gilberto Cuadra 
          Executive Director (Dr.) Orestes Romero Rojas 
          TELCOR Zacarías Guerra  175 mts abajo 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 282030/42; FAX:  (505-2) 282041 
 
          Comite Nacional de Productores de Azucar (CNPA) 
          (National Sugar Producers Committee) 
          General Manager Noel Chamorro 
          Sandy's Carretera a Masaya 1 c. arriba  
          1 c. al sur, Casa #51 
          Colonial Las Robles 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 678202; FAX:  (505-2) 670197 
 
          Union de Productores Agropecuarios de Nicaragua 
      (UPANIC) 
          (National Union of Agricultural Producers) 
          Executive Secretary (Ing.) Alejandro Raskowsky  
          Reparto San Juan No. 300 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 783382-84; FAX:  (505-2) 782587 
 
          Asociación Nicaragüense de Productores y Exportadores de 
Productos No Tradicionales (APENN) 
          (Nicaraguan Association of Producers and Exporters of Non-
Traditional Products) 
          General Manager Patrick Bolaños D. 
          De donde fue Rest. Terraza 1 c. al lago 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 665038; FAX:  (505-2) 665039 
 
          Camara Nacional de Turismo 
          (National Chamber of Tourism) 
          Executive Director (Dr.) Edgard Zarría Zamora 
          Contiguo al Ministerio de Turismo 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 665071; FAX:  (505-2) 665071 
 
          Federacion de Asociaciones Ganaderos de Nicaragua  
    (FAGANIC) 
          (Cattle Association) 
          President (Dr.) Pablo Sierra Ch. 
          Entrada Principal, Centro Comercial Managua 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 72976/72947; FAX:  (505-2) 670084 
 
           Asociacion de Bancos Privados de Nicaragua 
       (ASOBANP) 
          (Private Banking Association) 
          President Jose Felix Padilla 
          Interbank, Apdo 3107 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 785959; FAX:  (505-2) 783535 
 
          Asociacion de Representantes de Casas Extranjeras 
     de Nicaragua (ARCEN) 
          (Association of Foreign Business Representatives) 
     President (Ing.) Ernesto A. Cuadra Jr. 
          TEL:  (505-2) 780077/780389/780390;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 785628 
 
          Union Nicaraguense de Pequeña y Mediana Empresas 
      (UNIPYME) 
          (Small and Mid-Sized Business Association) 
          President William Tefel 
          Ciudad Jardin L-16 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 497695; FAX:  (505-2) 490662 
 
          Confederacion de Asociaciones Profesionales de 
      Nicaragua (CONAPRO) 
          (Confederation of Professional Associations) 
          President (Ing.) Carlos Lopez Barrios 
          Antiguo Restaurante Terraza 1 c. al sur,  
          175 varas al oeste 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 664065/663349; FAX:  (505-2) 664650 
 
          Instituto Nicaraguense de Desarrollo (INDE) 
          (Nicaraguan Development Institute) 
          President (Dr.) Carlos Quiñones 
          Carretera Sur Km. 14, 300 mts arriba 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 657712/657696; FAX:  (505-2) 658747 
 
          Asociacion Nicaraguense de Ingenieros y 
     Arquitectos (ANIA) 
         (Association of Architects and Engineers) 
          President (Ing.) Rene Quesada Prado 
          Apdo 1408 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 43796 
          Camara Nacional de la Mediana y Pequeña Industria 
      (CONAPI) 
          (Small and Mid-Sized Industries Chamber) 
          President (Lic.) Antonio Chavez 
          TEL:  (505-2) 784892/75910 
 
     --NICARAGUAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES 
 
          Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) 
          (Ministry of Agriculture) 
           Minister (Ing.) Dionisio Cuadra 
           Km 8-1/2 Carretera a Masaya 
           Managua, Nicaragua 
           TEL:  (505-2) 760233/74099; FAX:  (505-2) 760943  
 
          Ministerio de Construcción y Transporte (MCT) 
          (Ministry of Construction and Transportation) 
          Minister (Ing.) Pablo Vijil Icaza 
          Frente al Estadio Nacional 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 282061/283698; FAX:  (505-2) 24176 
 
          Ministerio de Cooperación Externa 
          (Ministry of External Cooperation) 
           Minister (Dr.) Erwin Kruger 
           Casa Ricardo Morales Avilés 
           Managua, Nicaragua 
           TEL:  (505-2) 281285/281171; FAX:  (505-2) 282693 
 
          Ministerio de Economía y Desarrollo (MEDE) 
          (Ministry of Economy and Development) 
          Minister (Ing.) Pablo Pereira Gallardo 
          Frente al Camino de Oriente 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 670002/670009; FAX:  (505-2) 670095 
 
          Ministerio de Finanzas (MIFIN) 
         (Ministry of Finance) 
          Minister (Dr.) Emilio Pereira Alegría 
          Frente a la Asamblea Nacional 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 285043/227061; FAX:  (505-2) 223033 
 
          Ministerio de Salud  
          (Ministry of Health) 
          Minister (Lic.) Martha Palacio Fernández 
          Complejo - Concepción Palacios 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 897811/897441; FAX:  (505-2) 897483 
 
          Banco Central de Nicaragua 
          (Central Bank of Nicaragua) 
          Minister-President (Dr.) José Evenor Taboada 
          Edificio Banco Central 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 652051-650460; FAX:  (505-2) 652272 
 
          Ministerio de Turismo (INTURISMO) 
          (Ministry of Tourism) 
          Minister (Lic.) Fernando Guzmán Cuadra 
          Antojitos 1 c. abajo y 1 c. al sur 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 281238/281337; FAX:  (505-2) 281187 
 
          Ministerio de Recursos Naturales (MARENA) 
          (Ministry of Natural Resources) 
          Minister (Lic.) Milton Caldero C. 
          Km. 12-1/2 Carretera Norte 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 631271/631323; FAX:  (505-2) 631274 
 
          TELCOR 
          (Telephone Company) 
          Director (Ing.) Rolando Rivas Hupper 
          TELCOR Villa Fontana 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 784444; FAX:  (505-2) 781818 
 
          Compania Nicaragüense de Energia (ENEL) 
          (Nicaraguan Energy Company) 
          Ministro-Director (Ing.) Emilio Rappaccioli 
          INE Central 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 674103/672688; FAX:  (505-2) 674377 
 
          Instituto Nicaragüense de Energia (INE) 
          (Nicaraguan Energy Institute) 
          Director (Ing.) Jose Ley Lau 
          INE Central 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 282057-58; FAX:  (505-2) 227052 
 
     --NICARAGUAN MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS 
 
          Grupo Empresarial Nicaraguense, S.A.  
          Director General Nelson Estrada Solorzano 
          Costado Sur Iglesia Las Sierritas Sto. Domingo 
          Apdo 102-A 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 785013-14/72861/72862;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 760583 
 
          CID/GALLUP 
          Sr. Federico Denton 
          Del Cartel, 2 c. abajo 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 783132; FAX:  (505-2) 70578 
 
          CONSULTA, S.A. 
          Bosque de Altamira, B-67 
          Apdo 2085 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 786289/73898; FAX:  (505-2) 786287 
 
     --NICARAGUAN COMMERCIAL BANKS 
 
          Banco de la Producción (BANPRO) 
          Gerente General Arturo Arana U. 
          Plaza Libertad, Contiguo a Metrocentro 
          Apdo 2309 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL: (505-2) 782508-9/783275/783278/784188-90; 
          FAX:  (505-2) 784113 
 
          Banco Nicaraguense de Industria y Comercio (BANIC) 
          Gerente General Marco Narvaez Baca 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 670997; FAX:  (505-2) 672127 
 
          Banco Nacional de Desarrollo (BANADES) 
          Gerente General Dionisio Chamorro 
          Apdo 328-1447 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 671771-9; FAX:  (505-2) 674222 
 
          Banco de Credito Centroamericano (BANCENTRO) 
          Gerente General Eduardo Montealegre R. 
          Edificio BANCENTRO  
          Km. 4-1/2 Carretera Masaya 
          TEL:  (505-2) 782777; FAX:  (505-2) 786001 
 
          Banco de Exportación (BANEXPO) 
          Gerente General Gilberto E. Wong 
          Centro Comercial Metrocentro 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL: (505-2) 73087/73094/73095/73096/73101/; 
          FAX:(505-2) 73154 
 
          Banco de America Central (BAC) 
          Gerente General Carlos Matus Tapia 
          Apdo 2304 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 670220-670223/73697/73624/73626; 
          FAX:  (505-2) 670224 
 
          Banco Popular 
          Gerente General Jose Alberto Navarro 
          Centro Comercial Nejapa 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 650331; FAX:  (505-2) 651337 
 
          Banco Mercantil 
          Gerente General Oscar Martin Aguado A. 
          Plaza Banco Mercantil 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 668228-668233; FAX:  (505-2) 668024 
 
          Banco Intercontinental (Interbank) 
          Gerente General Jose Felix Padilla 
          Apdo 3107 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 785959; FAX:  (505-2) 783535-783537 
 
          Banco de Prestamos (BANPRES) 
          Gerente General Norma Lopez 
          Esquina Opuesta Hotel Intercontinental 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 223046/223048/223052;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 223057 
 
          Banco Europeo de Centro America, S.A. (BECA) 
          Gerente General Chale Espinosa A. 
          Apdo 188 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 224791; FAX:  (505-2) 783827 
 
          Banco del Campo 
          Gerente General Luis Morales Uriarte 
          Edificio Interplaza 
          Pista La Resistencia 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 781236/39; FAX:  (505-2) 781242 
 
          Banco de Cafe de Nicaragua (BANCAFENIC)* 
          Gerente General Jose Arias 
          INFESA, del Hospital Militar 100 vrs. abajo 
          Prolongación Avenida Bolivar 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 668075; FAX:  (505-2) 668068 
 
          Caley Dagnall Bank* 
          Gerente General Esteban Duque Estrada 
          Km. 3 Carretera Sur 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 680068; FAX:  (505-2) 680069 
 
          *Scheduled to open mid-1995. 
 
     --MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS 
 
          Inter-American Development Bank 
          Resident Representative Martin Stabile 
          Km. 4-1/2 Carretera a Masaya 
          Apdo. 2412 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 670831/670832/670833;  
          FAX:  (505-2) 673469 
 
          International Monetary Fund 
          Resident Representative Jose Gil-Diaz 
          Banco Central de Nicaragua 
          Km. 7 Carretera Sur 
          Managua, Nicaragua 
          TEL:  (505-2) 651843; FAX;  (505-2) 651923 
 
--APPENDIX F -- MARKET RESEARCH 
 
     --LIST OF AVAILABLE AND UPCOMING DOC/ISAS AND IMIS 
 
     IMI:   Overview of Nicaraguan Telecommunications Industry:  The 
Private Sector, Managua 006373, 11/21/94 
 
     IMI:   Industry, The Environment, and the Law, Managua 000918, 
02/22/95 
 
     IMI:   Overview of Nicaraguan Mining Sector, Managua 001752, 
04/11/95 
 
     IMI:   Overview of Nicaragua's Fisheries Sector, Managua 002065, 
05/02/95 
 
     --LIST OF USDA/FAS/COMMODITY REPORTS AND MARKET BRIEFS 
 
Key agricultural commodity reports on Nicaragua by USDA/FAS follows: 
 
     -- Trade Leads, October 1994, Report:  NU4014 
     -- Cotton Report, March 1995, Report:  NU5001 
     -- Sugar Annual Situation, April 1995, Report:  NU5002 
 
--APPENDIX G -- TRADE EVENT SCHEDULE 
 
     EXPICA '95 (Central American Livestock  
          and Commerce Exposition)             July 1995 
 
     AGRICULTURAL AND  FOOD PROCESSING  
          MACHINERY                         January 1996 
 
 
Because trade event schedules may change, firms should consult the 
Export Promotion Calendar onthe National Trade Data Base (NTDB) or 
contact Embassy Managua for the latest information.
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