When talking about how well the Latin American economy is doing, there should be a note added: "except Central America and the Caribbean countries."
In the interview to Humberto López, Chief Economist, World Bank (WB) for Central America by Juan Pablo Arias of Nacion.com, he reflects: "Central America in 2010 grew much less than South America and for 2011 it expects a lower growth rate than the south of the continent. When Asia is doing well, Central America and the Caribbean are not doing so well because they are competitors. The expansion of Asian exports in the U.S. is shifting, in part, Central American exports. Moreover, commodity prices are rising and that's good for South America because they are producers.
Annual growth in trade between Central American countries from 1960 to the close of 2008 averaged 11.7%, increasing from $30 million to $6.3 billion.
"Geography is destiny,” Napoleon would often say, and Central America is a clearly a case in point. As far as trade is concerned, the region’s countries are one, and in terms of business it is essential to take this into account.
Sardimar and Calvo Group are involved in a dispute over tariffs generated by the implementation of the multilateral treaty imposed by the US-Central America Treaty.
The Spanish-owned Calvo Group has a tuna processing plant in El Salvador from which it exports to Costa Rica - among other places - having paid the country a customs duty of 15% until January 2009, and afterwards taking advantage of CAFTA benefits by not paying the tariff for tuna in oil and paying 2.2% for tuna in water. This will obviously hurt the local sales of Costa Rican-owned Sardimar, which is protesting, stating that the situation violates the provisions of the General Treaty of Central American Integration since Calvo Group operates in a free trade zone in El Salvador and is exempt from most national and municipal taxes and Sardimar considers this a subsidy in disguise.