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The Textile and Clothing
Industry in El Salvador

 A Workforce You Can Count On

El Salvador is the best place to set up
Textile Manufacturing Facility.

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Textile and Clothing Industry Overview

El Salvador’s Story

The textile and clothing industry in El Salvador has been one of the country’s main economic development drivers since the 1950s.  Activity in this important sector increased significantly during the 1980s, however, when a large percentage of Salvadoran production began to be exported mainly to the United States under the terms of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).  At this time factories in the textile and clothing industry in El Salvador consisted almost entirely of simple assembly operations.  Component materials were shipped to El Salvador, were subsequently transformed, and then returned to the US as finished goods. 

Today the textile and clothing industry in El Salvador leads the Americas in its production of value-added items for export markets. The sector is vertically integrated and employs 70,000 direct and 200,000 indirect laborers.   As a result of the 2004 signing of the Dominican Republic -Central America Free Trade Agreement (DF-CAFTA) trade between the United States and El Salvador is duty-free.

In the first six months of 2018, Salvadoran textile and clothing manufacturers increased their overall exports by 5.6%, when compared to the amount of product sold overseas during the same period in 2017.  In dollar terms, this percentage represents US $70 million in additional sales.  The total value of product exported from the textile and clothing industry in El Salvador to overseas customers in the first six months of 2018 exceeded US $1.3 billion dollars.   It is expected that El Salvador’s total exports of textile and clothing for the year will rise above US $2.6 billion.   

Although this figure seems substantial, there is much room for growth in the textile and clothing industry in El Salvador due to the fact that it only has three percent of the US market.

The textile and clothing industry in El Salvador rests upon four important pillars.  They are:

  • a totally integrated supply chain;
  • innovation and the adoption of new technologies;
  • speed to the consumer;
  • production with social responsibility.

Companies that wish to set up operations in the textile and clothing industry in El Salvador can have access to a trained workforce and can set up shop in one of the country’s economic free zones.  Textile and clothing companies that are seeking an industrial location in El Salvador are encouraged to use the form below in order to get in touch with the Central American Group.

Textile and Clothing Industry Outlook

Historically rooted in El Salvador, the textile and clothing industry has managed to establish itself as a leading sector of the nation’s economy.  According to the Salvadoran Chamber of Textile and Clothing Manufacturers (CAMTEX), the industry represents 45% of El Salvador’s exports.  Additionally, textile and clothing manufacturers in El Salvador have created approximately 75,000 direct jobs and about 200,000 indirect positions. 

El Salvador’s Textile and Clothing Chamber of Commerce (CAMTEX) reports that the country exported US $2.6 billion of product during 2017.  This figure represents a US $95 million increase over the prior year. 

In 2016, El Salvador launched a 15 year textile and apparel growth strategy.  The plan targets new high-performance sportswear niches. 


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