Honduras: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in Honduras

It is customary to address a professional person by his or her title, particularly on first meeting or during early acquaintance. Businesspeople are generally expected to dress smartly and some dining rooms require men to wear a jacket. There are very few local interpreter or translation services available. Though many businesspeople throughout the country also speak English, correspondence should be in Spanish.

Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1400-1700, Sat 0800-1100.

Government offices: Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1300-1630.

Economy

The economy of Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, relies on agriculture and timber. Light industry produces a variety of consumer goods and there is a small mining industry. The economy draws heavily on various forms of US-sponsored aid. Inflation is 5.2% (2012) and annual growth 3.5% (2012). Growth is dependent on the US economy, the continued export of non-traditional products such as melons and shrimp, and the reduction of the high crime rate. Almost 60% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.

Honduras suffers from massive unemployment and extremely uneven distribution of wealth. Export earnings have been badly hit in recent years by low world prices and slack demand within the Central American Common Market, of which Honduras is a member. Almost half of the country’s economic activity is tied to the USA and the US-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) which came into force in 2006 and helped increase foreign investment. However, political and physical instability, along with crime and corruption still pose problems to future growth.

GDP

$18.4 billion (2013).

Main exports

Apparel, coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, cigars and timber.

Main imports

Fabric, machinery, chemicals, petroleum and plastic and paper articles.

Main trading partners

Keeping in Touch in Honduras

Telephone

The international dialling code for Honduras is 504. Direct dial international calls are available in major towns and the Bay Islands, but in other areas it may be necessary to call the international operator on 193. Call centres, hotels and pay phones are widely available. There are no area codes within Honduras. There is relatively good mobile phone reception throughout the country, and pay-as-you-go phones can be bought cheaply from major operators such as Tigo, Claro, Hondutel and Digicel. Foreign mobile phones must be quad-band to be used in the country.

Mobile phone

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is generally good along the coasts and around major towns.

Internet

Internet cafes exist in major towns and Wi-Fi is becoming more common in major urban areas.

Post

Airmail to Western Europe takes between four and seven days.

Post office hours

Mon-Sat 0800-1200 and 1400-1800.

Media

The media is restricted by punitive defamation laws which, in certain cases, require journalists to reveal their sources. Journalists tend to exercise self-censorship in order to avoid offending the political or economic interests of the media bigwigs, and cases of journalists accepting bribes from officials who wish to influence coverage are not unknown.

Daily newspapers are in Spanish and privately owned. They include El Heraldo, La Prensa, El Tiempo and La Tribuna. The weekly Honduras This Week is published in English. Televicentro operates Telesistema Hondureno, Canal 5 El Lider and Telecadena 7 y 4. Other networks are: CBC Canal 6, Vica TV and SOTEL Canal 11. Radio America and Radio HRN are both privately-owned national radio stations.

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