United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
April 1st, 2014
SAN SALVADOR- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Regional Trade and Market Alliances Project and in close collaboration with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), held a regional workshop exploring challenges faced by Central American countries with respect to implementing the draft Agreement on Trade Facilitation approved by World Trade Organization (WTO) members in December 2013.
The workshop will define the meaning and scope of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation; analyze other regions’ successes, challenges, and lessons learned in the implementation of Agreement-related provisions; and assess challenges countries will face to achieve compliance.
The workshop was divided in two sub-regional meetings; the first one was held in San José, Costa Rica, on April 1 and 2, 2014, and the second will take place in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on April 7 and 8. In Costa Rica, representatives of different sectors of the host country were among the attendees, as were representatives from Panama and Nicaragua. Representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will attend the meeting in Tegucigalpa.
The first part of the meeting in Costa Rica included remarks by guest experts who discussed the development of the agreement and how its provisions have been implemented in other regions. During the second part, participants worked interactively in groups, analyzing the main challenges and courses of action for implementation in their respective countries. Guest experts worked within the groups, sharing analyses, tools, and practices that have been applied in other places around the world. The meeting in Honduras will follow the same model.
The USAID Regional Trade and Market Alliances Project is supporting Central American countries in leveraging intra-regional trade and exports as a means to reach inclusive economic growth. Through this initiative, USAID expects to consolidate regional value chains and increase access to export markets, through alliances between the main public and private actors, facilitating trade, harmonizing export requirements, and promoting greater institutional capacity in the national and regional public sectors to face these challenges.