Customs Still a Problem

Instead of being reduced, bureaucracy at the Central American borders is becoming increasingly burdensome, complicating and making intra regional trade more expensive.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Constant delays which increase transportation costs, lack of progress in the streamlining of customs procedures and a perceived stagnation of the customs and economic integration project are the most pressing problems observed by business associations in Central America.

Through the Consultative Committee for Economic Integration (CCIE), these groups are calling on governments to show more determination in addressing these problems.

Jose Adan Aguerri, president of the Consultative Committee for Economic Integration, said that "logistics and streamlining processes have disappeared from customs, which impacts negatively on the finances of the trading sectors," reported El Diario de Centroamérica on its website.

According to the American Federation of Transporters (Fecatrans), each container transports a minimum of $25,000 worth of goods, depending on the type of product.

Juan Antonio Bustos, head of the Federation of Chambers of Industry (FECAICA), said that "modernization of customs in order to simplify procedures is needed urgently." Another of the "serious problems is corruption and smuggling operations by well structured gangs in the region ," he added.

More on this topic

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.

Central American Customs Offices Hinder Trade

October 2013

From the border with Mexico up to Darien in Panama, customs offices are hindering trade and conspiring against the region's development.

According to the Corporation of Guatemalan Customs Agents (CAAG), delays suffered by transport carriers alone make goods 5% more expensive for Central American consumers. But added to this is 30% for sanitary and phytosanitary barriers and non-tariff measures that are applied in each country.

Nicaraguan Customs Offices Obstructs Trade

October 2013

Entrepreneurs and drivers and transporters indicate that there are a lot of inconveniences in the customs office at Port Corinto.

Truckers for example, complain of constant fines, confiscation of vans and goods without any legal reason. They are also required to pay for stays in the harbor of Punta Icaco because front loading machines are only available at night.

Single Declaration Form for Central American Customs

May 2013

Preparations are being made for a single form that will streamline customs trade ahead of the entry into force of the Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union.

According to the president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), Joseph Adam Aguerri, already working on this issue are the Central American Integration System (SICA), and the Secretariat of Central American Economic Integration (SIEC). They are working "on a unified customs document that aims to concentrate all imports and exports," added Aguerri.

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