Issues Pending in Guatemala - El Salvador Customs Union

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.

Friday, February 19, 2016

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.

However, employers are still highlighting barriers to trade at these borders which are related to infrastructure, bureaucracy and corruption. Unions such as freight unions, for example, urged Salvadoran authorities to reduce the number of trucks that have to be scanned using X-ray machines, the suspension of $18 border payments for non-intrusive inspections or changing the method of payment for this service, in order to decongest customs posts. reports that "... the reason is that no matter how import taxes are distributed between the two countries, carriers, when transporting their cargo, still have to deal with bureaucratic or circulation problems," explained the president of the Salvadoran Association of International Cargo Carriers (ASTIC), Raul Alfaro.

Guatemalan businessmen have also noted deficiencies in the areas of transparency, as Rolando Paiz, president of the board of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters pointed out to "internal corruption structures still have control in the case of ports and customs ".

Meanwhile, the passenger transport companies Pullmantur, Tica Bus, Platinum, Transport Sun and Comfort Line denounced in a statement released by El Diario de Hoy, a drop of 38% in land tourism due to the collapse of the bridge in El Jobo on the Chinamas border three years ago, which is preventing vehicles from passing through.

So far the authorities of both countries have only confirmed that they intend to begin work on the borders of El Salvador-Guatemala: Las Chinamas-Valle Nuevo and Anguiatú-La Ermita, where most of the bilateral trade passes through.

More on this topic

Customs Offices in El Salvador Hindering Trade

April 2015

Cargo carriers are reporting that customs formalities can take up to 27 hours, due to the constant changes of personnel and their lack of training.

On the border of La Hachadura and Amatillo there are 15 kilometer long lines of vans which are waiting make the appropriate arrangements to pass through.

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.

Delays Continue at Customs Offices in El Salvador

May 2014

Problems persist in the process of reviewing merchandise at the border posts in Amatillo and La Hachadura causing delays to cargo trucks.

Double review processes, recurring failures with x-ray machine inspection and the absence of a contingency plan for unforeseen delays has generated delays of between 19 and 23 hours for the approval of entry and exit of goods, said the Salvadoran Association of International Freight Carriers (ASTIC).

Strike By Truckers Continues at Salvadoran Borders

January 2014

Only cargo destined for El Salvador should be charged with the $18 fee for the inspection with scanner, request freight carriers.

According to the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), this fee violates conventions and trade agreements in the region. In addition, they believe that the inspections and the time it takes to submit all shipments to the procedures are excessive.

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