The term “local market” was created in China to refer to the consumers which can be reached in eight hours in a truck loaded with products, including all the paperwork necessary.
According to an article by Louisa Reynolds on Elperiodico.com.gt, under this definition, the “local market” of Guatemala City includes San Salvador, but not other important cities like San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (which take 12-14 hours to reach), Managua (18 hours) and San Jose (26 hours).
The reason? Long procedures, poor and insufficient infrastructure which cause hours of bottlenecks, and the insecurity of the routes.
Attacking these problems and decreasing transportation times between Central American cities, will effectively enlarge the “local market” of each economic center.
In order to expedite intraregional trade it is necessary for customs offices dealing with cargo freight, to be open all hours, just as immigration customs offices are.
A study commissioned by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America (Fecamco) concluded that there are 87 barriers to trade in the region, one of the major ones being operations of the systems at customs offices at borders, followed by bureaucratic requirements and lack of adequate infrastructure.
There is a requirement to avoid duplicate collection of customs duties levied on imports in order to meet the provisions of the trade pact with the European Union.
The commissioner of Customs at the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) in Guatemala, Oscar Funes, referred to the commitments made by the region in the signing of the Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union, signed on 29 June.
There are too many entities in the field of integration and they do not seem to be working with the speed they should.
The President of FECAMCO (Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America), Mario Gonzalez, believes that together with the customs union, key to boosting development in the region, there are other factors to consider, such as legal certainty, investment in technical education and physical security of persons and property. "...to an investor it is not not attractive to come and invest in a single country, but coming to invest in a region with 40 million inhabitants is extremely attractive."
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