The aquaculture sector has estimated losses due to theft of the product, which is repackaged in clandestine facilities and then sold in the local market and in El Salvador, at $35 million a year.
Honduran aquaculture companies had hoped that waybills, or shipment details documents, which came into effect with the new 2014 Shrimp Farming Act would help control illegal trade of shrimp, but sofar it has not. The National Aquaculture Association of Honduras (Andah) estimates that every year the industry loses 16 million pounds of shrimp.
It is estimated that in 2015 illicit trade and customs fraud added up to $2.2 billion, equivalent to 3.5% of GDP.
Cereals, animals, meat and meat products, bakery products, sugar, macaroni and noodles, dairy, alcoholic beverages and textiles topped the list of products most affected by illegal trade, according to a study by ASIES.
The government is preparing a registration system that requires pork producers to mark their pigs in order to combat smuggling through the use of phytosanitary and traceability controls.
The aim is to have the agreement in late January, which would start with 88 producers enrolled in the Association of Pork Producers of Guatemala (APOGUA), in order to have an animal traceability system, prevent the illegal entry of pigs and prevent arrival of illnesses from Mexico.
Commercial activity grew in 2016 driven by subsectors such as automobiles, although brakes were still encountered such as growing informality, smuggling and bureaucracy in health and safety records.
At the end of the year, the commercial sector has maintained its relevance for the country 's economy and has become the main generator of employment, with 15% of the total labor force, according to the balance complied by the Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica.
The devaluation of the Mexican peso has worsened the problem in the border areas, where it is estimated that 70% of all products sold are illegal.
The Association of Manufacturers of Food Products (Grefal), says the problem is more serious in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Coatepeque, San Marcos and Huehuetenango. Thereseven out of every ten of the products traded"... are contraband that comes in through the Mexican border."
The devaluation of the Mexican peso could be one of the reasons behind the increase in the illegal entry of footwear from that country into Guatemala.
The effect of shoe smuggling across the border with Mexico is added to footwearimports from Asia, which despite paying the corresponding duties and taxes are,"... still priced below those of the local market"said Bayron Almorza, president of the Union of Footwear attached to the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala, to Prensalibre.com.
As expected after any government intervention in a market, the price consumers pay for the product has increased and a black market has been created, encouraging smuggling.
And the Costa Rican State itself risks having to pay millions in compensation for convictions for failing to comply with the procedures established by the WTO after blocking imports of avocados from Mexico.
It has been announced a tender will be launched in April for an electronic system to check containers.
After several failed attempts, it has now been announced the tender to install a tracking system to track and monitor the location of containers in Guatemala will be held no later than April, according to the Superintendent of Tax Administration, Francisco Solórzano Foppa.
Businesses are asking the Executive to reactivate the National Commission against Smuggling to protect issues such as competitiveness, intellectual property rights and the rights of consumers and entrepreneurs.
When the criminal customs fraud structure in Guatemala known as La Linea fell, the National Commission Against Contraband (Conacon) ceased to be operational. For this reason, representatives of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF) met with the President and Vice President, Jimmy Morales and Jafeth Cabrera, in order to revive the entity, reported Elperiodico.com.gt.
Companies have to allocate up to 15% of expenses to security services, as a result of the growing violence in the country.
A company wishing to operate in Guatemala has to allocate between 8 to 15% of its expenses to security in order to keep operating. The figure was provided by Victor Guillen, manager of purchases, imports and exports at Dagas, and published by Elperiodico.com.gt, who revealed that his company earmarked Q250 thousand ($32,000) per month for the security of its plants, trucks and workers.