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.
Agricultural production in Mexico is favored by the devaluation of the peso, which has encouraged smuggling to Guatemala of pork products, coffee, poultry and eggs.
The union of entrepreneurs in the agricultural and livestock sector is claiming that it is now not only pork which is being traded illegally on the border, but other products such as coffee, eggs and poultry.
In Nicaragua domestic cattle producers are being paid better than those in other countries.
"... The plants are paying around US $3.22 per kilo for 'hot' beef while markets such as Brazil, the world's largest exporter, whose meat competes with Nicaragua’s, paid US $2.22 per kilo. That means that Nicaragua is paying about $220 more per head than in those markets, and 45% more per kilo of 'hot' beef relative to the leading exporter of beef in the world ", said Onel Perez, executive director of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Beef Exporting Plants (Canicarne), in an extensive interview with Elnuevodiario.com.ni.
The new law lowers from $50,000 to $5,000 the minimum amount of goods in infraction, for it to be considered as a crime of smuggling.
The Legislature approved the bill which sanctions with penalties smuggled goods worth over $5000. The new law also provides for penalties against "split smuggling", made by the same group or individual.
ATS El Salvador is a Customs Agency with 26 years of providing services for imports, exports, transits, consultancies and international transport.
Operates in El Salvador
Phone: (503) 2235 6522 - (503) 2235 6524