In the VI round agreements were reached on the chapters on Government Procurement, Employment and Dispute Resolution, and the in next round they will define the final document for technical and legal review.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Guatemala:
The Government and the private sector have laid the foundation for a strategy to follow to apply for formal admission to the agreement and to take advantage of, among other things, "country of origin".
The benefit of"country of origin"that can be taken advantage of by the member countries of the Transpacific Agreement allows the use of raw materials originating in another country to be used as if they were their own. This "... will be beneficial not only for the free zones themselves but also for SMEs."We are talking about the expansion of markets, because Nicaragua is coming to countries with which it does not have this free trade scheme" said the president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise, Jose Adan Aguerri.
Three years after being signed, the Colombian Constitutional Court has approved the bilateral agreement that liberalizes 75% of industrial products over terms of 5 to 15 years.
This was the last institutional step needed to for the FTA between Costa Rica and Colombia, as the Central American country had completed all the necessary procedures, leaving only formal communication from Colombia to Costa Rica remaining, so that the agreement will go into force 60 days later.
They argue that joining the bloc offers growth potential for commercial partners who to date represent only 4% of total exports.
Enrique Egloff, president of the Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica provided support for this with figures which show that in 2015 Costa Rica's exports to the countries in the Pacific Alliance totaled $377 million and imports $1.786 billion. These amounts accounted for 4% of total exports and 12% of total imports. Of those exports, 97% are industrial goods, and for imports 95% are.
The private sector is demanding homogeneity in the foreign trade strategy, since the situation today is that there is "one protectionist minister and another who works for free trade."
In the words of José Manuel Quirce, president of the Chamber of Importers of Costa Rica (Crecex), the Solis administration needs to focus on "... harmonizing approaches in foreign trade" in order to avoid having one agriculture ministry imposing nontariff barriers to protect local production, and at the other extreme another minister of foreign trade promoting free trade.
There is still no legal framework to manage the international cooperation funds that would finance the implementation of the customs union between the two countries.
Even though the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIEC) announced "progress" in the process of the Customs Union between Guatemala and Honduras, Elperiodico.com.gt denounced the obstacles preventing it, "... the most visible being the establishment of a ministerial body. The body has still not been certified and therefore can not approve the creation of a "structural fund" where international cooperation resources would be deposited. "
The governments have confirmed that the process of technical implementation of the customs union will take between five to six months.
The Minister of Economy and Finance Ruben Morales referred to the process of the Customs Union between Guatemala and Honduras as "a gradual and progressive process, since its implementation will take five to six months. This process involves several institutions in the two countries. "
The decree approved by the Guatemalan Congress was the missing step needed to implement the free movement of people and goods between the two Central American countries.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Trade:
Guatemala, January 22, 2016. The Congress of Guatemala yesterday approved a Protocol Enabling the Deep Integration towards the free movement of people and goods between the Republics of Guatemala and Honduras.
In Costa Rica the virtually monopolistic Industrial Sugar Cane Agricultural League is supporting a recent decree that protects blocking imports of sugar by forcing sugar fortification to be done it its place of origin.
A statement issued by the Industrial Sugarcane Agricultural League (LAICA) abounds in views on the relevance of sugar fortification -which nobody questions-, and on the supposed benefits that the company brings to the Costa Rican consumers, including " stable prices. "
The government has filed a request for entry as an observer to CARICOM and has proposed to the Caribbean block the start of negotiations for a free trade agreement.
The negotiation of a trade agreement with the bloc would increase the exchange of agricultural and manufactured goods, and improve the position of Panama as a logistics hub and tourist destination among the Caribbean countries.