WCO Bolsters Trade Facilitation in Northern Triangle
The World Customs Organization (WCO) looks to bolster trade facilitation and cooperation efforts within the three countries of the Northern Triangle -El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras- by promoting greater transparency in Customs procedures and regulations to facilitate trade and reduce opportunities for corruption.
In addition to work on the Time Release Study, the WCO is engaging the countries in a constructive dialogue on improving border management in the region. Emphasis is placed on identifying measures that require low investment but can yield quick and tangible results.
The Time Release Study is a strategic and internationally recognized tool to measure the actual time required for the release and/or clearance of goods, from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo, with a view to finding bottlenecks in the trade flow process and taking necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.
As part of a customs modernization reform process, the Honduran Government has transitioned to a new Customs Administration Agency in 2020.
In July 2018, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved the country’s incorporation into the Customs Union established by Guatemala and Honduras in June 2017. El Salvador began moving into the operational phase, which included working to harmonize regulations and procedures, integrate border posts, establish interconnectivity between automated systems, and train customs officials on the new procedures.
Implementation stalled temporarily in 2020 as the government decided to re-prioritize bilateral trade facilitation with Guatemala. In October 2021, however, the Salvadoran government announced it would proceed with Customs Union implementation, now called Deep Integration. El Salvador rejoined technical-level working group discussions, resumed testing of system interconnectivity.