Guatemalan textile and apparel exports to the US surged 18% to US$1.7bn in the first nine months of 2010, reversing a sharp decline in the the same period last year, leading textiles chamber Vestex announced.

Last year's recession sent exports tumbling 15% to $1.3bn in the January-September period, Vestex added.

Guatemala is Central America's largest textile exporter to the US. The apparel industry employs 58,672 people in 149 factories while the textiles sector has 18,500 workers in 35 companies. Other services and accessories firms employ 15,000 people.