Central American Integration Denied at Customs Offices

It is time for the organizations dedicated to integration to be held to account, and the countless meetings and bombastic statements to be brought back down to earth.

Monday, February 3, 2014

" ... trading successfully requires a lot of work, it means risking assets, paying salaries, burning the candle at both ends in order to fulfill an order, it means having to throw away products because consumers dont like them anymore or because another one came in from abroad that pushed yours aside. Every extra dollar caused by difficulties at Central American borders pushes companies towards not being able to compete, towards disappearing. "

Fanny Estrada, in her article in Prensalibre.com rightly points out that "The question we have to ask Central Americans and those who cooperate with funding the bureaucracy which punishes integration is, 'Who is punished for the failures caused by not providing facilitation?"

Referring to the latest dispute at customs offices in El Salvador over the imposition of a general rate of $18 for the inspection of transported goods, the analyst notes that "The recent disposition of the Government of El Salvador which paralyzed the border with Guatemala for eight days and caused millions in losses for thousands of companies and producers, did not measure the impact on the implementation of a measure that virtually blocked trade throughout Central America, ignoring the violation of the laws of integration and commitments to support trade facilitation."

More on this topic

Which Countries are Opposed to the Customs Union?

September 2014

It is time for transparent information to be given on which Central American governments continue to obstruct the essential unification of border formalities.


The Council of Ministers for Economic Integration (Comieco) which met in Managua on September 4 and 5 ended, as always happens in these meetings with public officials, with a statement of good intentions including promises to "work on the standardization of procedures at border posts and a regional strategy for trade facilitation," objectives which have been stated often and which up to now are far from being realised.

Customs Offices Should be Open 24/7 for Cargo

June 2014

In order to expedite intraregional trade it is necessary for customs offices dealing with cargo freight, to be open all hours, just as immigration customs offices are.

A study commissioned by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America (Fecamco) concluded that there are 87 barriers to trade in the region, one of the major ones being operations of the systems at customs offices at borders, followed by bureaucratic requirements and lack of adequate infrastructure.

The Bali Agreement and Central American Customs Offices

May 2014

Central American countries need to implement a series of improvements in customs procedures in order to meet the requirements of the agreement for the facilitation of international trade.

Within two years, as part of the commitments made in the 2001 Doha Round of the Bali Agreement, signed in 2013 by 160 nations belonging to the World Trade Organization (WTO), including Central America, governments will have to harmonize their customs systems ensuring trade facilitation. However, to date institutional progress on issues established by the Agreement such as simplification, harmonization and automation of procedures for international trade have not happened, particularly in relation to the requirements and formalities for import, export and transit of border freight.

Guatemala and El Salvador: A Single Customs Clearance

March 2012

By the end of 2012, El Salvador and Guatemala intend to integrate their customs borders in order to facilitate trade and people transit.

Towards the end of 2012, El Salvador and Guatemala are looking to integrate their customs border in order to facilitate trade and transit of people.

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