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Manufacturing, Textile and Apparel

Light manufacturing

El Salvador has a mature plastics and textile and apparel industries, with installed capacity to offer outsourcing to international companies. In the metal mechanics sector, there are computer numerical control workshops, capable of sourcing precision parts. El Salvador offers investment opportunities for companies in the auto parts and electronic components sectors that want to establish manufacturing plants to export their products to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Emilio Márquez
Light Manufacturing and Medical Devices specialist

Email: emilio.marquez@investelsalvador.com
Mobile: +503 7071-7029

Andrea Pérez
Textile and apparel specialist

Email: andre.perez@investelsalvador.com
Mobile: +503 7069-5450

Key facts

Advantages of investing in El Salvador

  • Speed of response and geographical proximity to markets that are looking to minimize their dependency on Asia for medical supplies.
  • The country's products reach markets such as the United States, the rest of Central America and Europe: 40% of medical devices exports of El Salvador are destined to the United States.
  • The textile and apparel sector is one of the most important in the country and includes providers of yarn and fabric, as well as apparel companies.
  • El Salvador has a mature plastics industry. Currently, many of the plastic companies have installed capacity to offer outsourcing or even make joint ventures with international companies.
  • In the metal mechanics sector, there are companies with computer numerical control (CNC) workshops, capable of sourcing precision parts.
  • Low operating costs: operating an auto parts manufacturing plant in El Salvador is about 33% cheaper than in Mexico and up to 85% cheaper than in the U.S. (Source: fDi Benchmark, a service from the Financial Times Limited 2022).
  • Highly qualified human capital

Investment Opportunities

  • Auto parts: automotive harnesses, car seats, vehicle security systems (airbags, seat belts) and automotive sensors.
  • Electronic components: tantalum and ceramic capacitors, transistors, resistors, etc.
  • Manufacturing, assemblage, and refurbishment.

Medical Devices

International medical devices manufacturers will find in El Salvador a strategic partner that provides an export platform to North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, El Salvador has the first training center in Latin America certified by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) located at Don Bosco University, with more than 20 years’ experience teaching biomedical engineering, as well as major and technical education in prostheses and orthosis. During the pandemic, the industry expanded to unusual levels as a result of increased manufacturing of personal protection equipment.

Key facts

Advantages of investing in El Salvador

  • Speed of response and geographical proximity to markets that are looking to minimize their dependency on Asia for medical supplies.
  • The country's products reach markets such as the United States, the rest of Central America and Europe: 40% of medical devices exports of El Salvador are destined to the United States.
  • El Salvador has an important and consolidated pharmaceutical industry and a regulatory body with category three of Good Manufacturing Practices according to the WHO.
  • Low operating costs: operating a medical devices manufacturing plant in El Salvador is about 50% cheaper than other referent locations, like Costa Rica (Source: fDi Benchmark, a service from the Financial Times Limited 2022).

Investment Opportunities

  • Medical – hospital supplies: disposable laboratory and diagnostic equipment, hospital lingerie and reusable and disposable clothing, wound treatment supplies
  • Orthopedic Products: Prosthesis, Orthosis, Internal fixing devices
  • Hospital furniture.
  • Health and hygiene products: Wipes, surgical covers, blankets, masks, hats, hospital bed products, surgical hosiery, surgical gloves, sports medicine products, compression garments, exchanges.
  • Surgical sutures
  • Mastectomy and prostheses bras and swimsuits.
  • Lactation accessories.
  • Stoma/ostomy and urology care, such as: ostomy bags and ostomy accessories
  • Consumables and accessories: dialysis bags, drainage systems and bags.
  • Cables, connectors, harnesses, sensors for medical devices.
  • Packaging supplies (plastic containers, boxes, bags, film) to supply the region.

Textile and apparel

El Salvador is the only country that has developed a full synthetic cluster in Central America. The textile and apparel sector is one of the main engines of El Salvador’s development, with a value chain that has consolidated and integrated towards more added value products. The dynamic process of vertical integration of the industry has incorporated all production activities of the textile and apparel chain, from the production of fibers, yarns and fabrics manufacturing, product design, garment manufacturing and the associated logistics, besides offering countless opportunities to enter new businesses in the upper and lower end of the value chain and related activities. Currently, El Salvador exports textiles and apparel to more than 50 countries and represents 40% of total exports.

Key facts

Advantages of investing in El Salvador

  • It is the only country that has developed a full synthetic cluster in Central America.
  • Speed to market and geographic proximity
  • The “Yarn Forward” rule of origin granted by the CAFTA-DR, allows free access for qualifying textile and apparel products made using U.S. and/or Central America-DR yarns and fabrics (nylon, polyester, microfiber, among others –products paying a 32% tariff when imported from Asia through the U.S.).
  • El Salvador is on the position 5th among the most cost-competitive locations to operate a textile and apparel plant in the Americas (ranking out of 20 locations in the region, source: fDi Benchmark, a service from the Financial Times Limited 2022).

Investment Opportunities

  • Yarns and fabrics manufacturing (Natural and synthetic)
  • Knitted garments with accessories and embellishments (embroidery, screen printing, heat transfers, etc.), athletic wear, sportswear, performance wear and swimwear manufacturing.
  • Garments manufacturing included in the “Cut and Assemble” Rule of Origin category: bras, girl dresses, boxer shorts, sleepwear, luggage, among others.

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