IIC, Guatemalan Exporters Association partner in a strategic alliance to benefit the wood and furniture sector in Guatemala


Guatemala City, Guatemala.- On November 30, 2010, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), in partnership with the Guatemalan Exporters Association (Agexport), announced a series of technical assistance activities to benefit the wood and furniture sector in Guatemala. Thirty companies will receive group technical assistance and three companies will receive individual technical assistance, including detailed advice on quality control and policy requirements for exports to the European market.

This will be the eighth round of FINPYME ExportPlus technical assistance activities organized in 2010 to support the objectives of the World Trade Organization’s Aid for Trade initiative. Under FINPYME ExportPlus, technical experts provide direct assistance to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve their competitiveness and their capacity to export. FINPYME ExportPlus workshops cover diverse topics, including certification requirements, export management, and productivity improvement. In addition to group workshops, experts provide technical assistance to individual firms for trade certifications and process and management improvements. The FINPYME ExportPlus program in Guatemala is funded by the Government of Italy.

According to Mainardo Benardelli de Leitenburg, Ambassador of Italy to Guatemala, "The IIC’s FINPYME ExportPlus initiative in Guatemala is a perfect fit for the active, ongoing collaboration among the Embassy of Italy’s Commercial Office and the Italian-Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as other Italian institutions with a presence in Guatemala. The purpose of this work is to strengthen and deepen economic and commercial relations between Italy and Guatemala. Italy has expertise and a long history of excellence in wood and furniture manufacturing. This technical assistance activity represents an extraordinary opportunity for small and medium-sized Guatemalan enterprises operating in that sector, and will help them participate successfully in international markets."

According to Francisco Menéndez, vice president of Agexport, "This workshop is a very important opportunity for Guatemalan companies in the wood and furniture sector to improve their international reach and learn about best practices in Italy, which is a global leader in furniture design and technology."

An internationally recognized expert, Alessandro Gnaccherini of COSMOB, an Italian wood and furniture consortium, will lead an intensive workshop focused on quality control, operations processes, design techniques, sales channels, and competitive marketing strategies.

The IIC is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group. The IIC’s mission is to promote the economic development of its regional member countries by encouraging the establishment, expansion, and modernization of private enterprises, particularly those that are small and medium in size. It does so by providing financing (in the form of equity investments, loans, guarantees, and other instruments) and advisory services to private enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2009, the IIC reached US$1.4 billion in assets and approved 40 operations channeling US$299.8 million to SMEs in the region. For more information on the IIC’s activities, please visit www.iic.int

Contact: Antonello Bove

Telephone: (202) 623-3905

Email: antonellob@iadb.org