Differences Between Central America and South America

When talking about how well the Latin American economy is doing, there should be a note added: "except Central America and the Caribbean countries."

Monday, January 31, 2011

In the interview to Humberto López, Chief Economist, World Bank (WB) for Central America by Juan Pablo Arias of Nacion.com, he reflects: "Central America in 2010 grew much less than South America and for 2011 it expects a lower growth rate than the south of the continent. When Asia is doing well, Central America and the Caribbean are not doing so well because they are competitors. The expansion of Asian exports in the U.S. is shifting, in part, Central American exports. Moreover, commodity prices are rising and that's good for South America because they are producers.

The WB economist further noted that although the isthmus is the most integrated region after the European Union, customs unification remains the main objective to achieve, in order to facilitate trade and regional economic development.

In this context, INCAE, with $ 400.000 provided by the World Bank and the Spanish government, opened a program which will seek to improve the capabilities of the Central American civil service, in order to advance in regional integration.

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Benefits of Integration

April 2013

In the past 20 years intraregional trade grew at a rate of 12% per year, indicating an opportunity to deepen integration by finally fully adopting the customs union.

However, experts believe that Central America still faces challenges, specifically in customs matters.

"Exports to Central America have grown over the past 20 years at a rate of 50% more than exports to the rest of the world." "...at an average of 12% annually, and our exports to the world have grown at an average of 8% annually. This underlines the importance of intraregional trade dynamics in this space of Central American integration," said Hugo Beteta, CEO of the subregional site of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Mexico.

State of the Central American Integration Process

February 2012

A Central American Economic Integration Situation Report details legal and institutional frameworks, trade of goods and the Central American Customs Unification process.

The report by the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat among other things refers to:


Customs Union is Essential

July 2010

The cost of customs procedures adds up to 40% to the price of products traded between countries in the region.

The isthmus is the natural destination for the region’s export producers and a large part of the countries’ economic development depends on the 40 million people that inhabit Central America, forming a unified marketplace.

Status of the Central American Economic Integration

February 2009

SIECA report on status of the process of the Central American Economic Integration

This document contains the status of the Central American economic integration process, basically refers to the legal institutional framework, Central American trade, and incorporation of into international trade.

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