Nicaragua's Textile & Apparel industry is an important development engine for the national economy, as it accounted for nearly 59 percent of total free zones exports in 2012 with US$1,368 million and employed 69,000 people by the end of 2012. That same year, the country exported 408.9 million square meter equivalents (SMEs), valued at US$1,348 million to the United States.
Investors have found in Nicaragua key factors that were conducive to their companies' profitability. Among these are the high productivity rates, coupled with the most competitive labor costs in the region, speed to market leading to speed to profit, significant improvements in the nation's infrastructure and business climate, the implementation of DR-CAFTA and its benefits, in addition to the governments generous investment incentives, and the country's high personal safety levels.
Apparel manufacturers operating in Nicaragua also service major retail chains, such as Target, JCPenney, Wal-Mart, and Kohl's. It is also worth noting that world-renowned brands have found in Nicaragua ideal elements to place garment production in the country, such as Wrangler, Gap, Armour, Levi's, Docker's among others.
A study by O'Rourke Group Partners found Nicaragua to be the single most competitive option for sourcing numerous apparel products, not just in this hemisphere, but in some cases also compared to China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
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