Events > UK-Central America Association Agreement (UK-CAAA)

UK-Central America Association Agreement


Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama


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 Following the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), and recognising Central America as an important and growing partner for the UK with potential to increase and diversify our trade and investment relationship, the countries have agreed to continue this relationship through the new UK-Central America Association Agreement.

The agreement took effect on 1st January 2021, when the existing EU agreement ceased to apply to the UK.

The treaty covers key points such as:

  • Certificates and Declarations of Origin

  • Preferential Tariff Rates on Goods

  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Certification

  • Cumulation of Origin

  • Goods in Transit in an EU Country 

You may find treaty documents and more relevant information about trade with Central America at the UK-Central America Association Agreement (UK-CAAA) page at GOV.UK.


Facts about the UK-CAAA

  • The UK-CAAA maintains the commitments established with the UK prior to its departure from the EU, in terms of recognition, compliance and protection of trade-related intellectual property rights. This includes copyrights, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, plant varieties, geographical indications (GIs).

  • The Agreement’s objective is to improve the liberalisation of trade in services too. This means that UK services and providers should receive the same treatment than the nationals of Central American countries. Key sectors that are included, regulated and monitored through the Agreement are: financial services, construction and engineering services, professional services, shipping and distribution, telecommunications services, among others.

  • The tariff liberalisation schedules have been transitioned into the new FTA with Central America. This will allow UK products to keep entering Central American countries free from tariff. By 2027, this will include the vast majority of UK goods. 


Key Sectors

  • In 2019 alone, venture capital (VC) investment in FinTech startups in Latin America totalled USD 2.1bn. That number represented growth of 690% over the past five years (Source: Statista, 2021).

  • Central America’s high mobile phone penetration and great mobile internet coverage results in good conditions for the FinTech and Mobile Banking industry. As a global hub for FinTech and digital services, the UK can tap into the demand of banks and start-up companies in Central America who are looking into speeding up routine banking transactions and improving automation by integrating FinTech into financial products (Source: Canning Insights, 2021).

  • UK’s expertise in Clean Growth and Decarbonisation can help drive the global change to net zero carbon emissions by investing in clean energy, such as electrical mobility initiatives and agriculture projects in Central America (Source: HM Government, 2018).

  • Central America is also an attractive logistics hub for UK companies wanting to do business in Latin America & the Caribbean. Free Trade Zones, bonded warehouses, multimodal systems, and good maritime connectivity make Central America a great destination for foreign companies.

  • Central American countries have high demand for what the UK offers: automobiles, pharmaceuticals and MedTech, electronic devices, agricultural and industrial machinery. They are also looking for financial services providers, and suppliers for their infrastructure and clean energy projects (Source: Statista, 2021).

Businesses looking for support in trading overseas may wish to use the services and tools available at GOV.UK for assisting importers and exporters:

Trade with the UK          Check How to Export Goods


More information

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has overseas staff based in British Embassies and Consulates across Latin America and the Caribbean (LatAC). Our role is to increase the UK’s prosperity and to champion free trade globally. 

If you would like more information on how this agreement may apply to your business and sector, contact us if you are:

Interested in Central America          Interested in the UK


Published 30/09.
Last updated 18/10.

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