High electricity and fuel costs, outdated and inefficient border posts, and an educational system which is not aligned with market needs, are some of the complaints made to the Government.
On the positive side the union points to the balanced FTA negotiations with South Korea, the adoption of the Strategy for Services to Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Development Banking System and adoption of 4 laws for the rationalization of pension schemes.
The Guatemalan Exporters Association wishes to express to the different sectors involved in the current crisis affecting transport and the free movement of people and goods, the need to remedy the situation.
From a statement issued by the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT):
It has been announced that using funds from the Inter-American Development Bank a tender will be launched for a plan to improve and streamline cross-border trade in the region.
The goal is to design and implement a system to improve and expedite the transit of goods between the Central American countries which currently face several obstacles affecting competitiveness, such as customs delays and duplication of procedures.
While authorities have reactivated the process for binational customs liberalization, entrepreneurs have pointed to constraints on issues related to bureaucracy, corruption, and infrastructure at border crossing points.
The governments of Guatemala and El Salvador have resumed work in Technical Groups to liberalize binational border posts. In a statement, they reported that dialogue has been revived over customs, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, migration, security, and legal and tax issues.
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 Nicaraguan side is all ready for cargo transported to and from the port of Limón to save 250 kilometers, but the poor condition of a section of road in Costa Rica is preventing it.
The idea for the construction of the bridge over the San Juan River within the territory of Nicaragua, was to speed up freight between that country and the ports in Limon, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The bridge was built and so were roads suitable for heavy traffic north of the border post of Las Tablillas, but the tasks that Costa Rica had to carry out, such as the adaptation of infrastructure and services at the customs post, and the adaptation of about 80km of road, were never done.
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.
It has been reported that the passage of cargo and passengers through the border post of Peñas Blancas is closed due to the crisis caused by the presence of Cuban migrants in the area.
The Costa Rica union of importers reported that between November 16th and 17th several vans loaded with goods are being held up at the border post, waiting for the passage to be opened in both directions.
Approved resources from an international loan will be allocated to infrastructure improvements at the customs offices of Peñas Blancas, San Pancho and Guasaule.
One of the purposes of the improvements to be undertaken at the customs offices is to reduce the time it takes to process control of goods in transit, something that Nicaraguan businessmen and the region have complained about repeatedly.
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