New Free Trade Agreement With Mexico Takes Effect in Guatemala
Guatemala has, as of yesterday, adopted all terms of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mexico. The new FTA includes Honduras and Costa Rica, which have already been trading under these terms with the northern neighbor. El Salvador and Nicaragua are also parties to the agreement but have yet to receive full implementation from their legislatures.
The FTA negotiations ended on October 20, 2011, and those involved gave contingent signatures on November 22, 2011, in San Salvador, El Salvador. The Senate of Mexico then gave approval on December 15, 2011, and since then the congresses of all the Central-American countries have been working to approve and implement the terms of the agreement.
Just over one year after Mexico’s approval, on January 1, 2013, the Honduran government achieved the congressional support necessary to harmonize their commercial regulations with those of Mexico, becoming the first country in the region to embrace the deal. Then came Costa Rica on July 1 and Guatemala on September 1.
This FTA has replaced any prior, independent commercial agreements that Mexico had with each of the Central-American countries. For example, Mexico traded with Costa Rica and Nicaragua with special agreements in place for each. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras had formed the Northern Triangle of Central America to trade with Mexico and had held the same basis for commerce since March 15th, 2001.
María Luisa Flores, Deputy Economic Minister of Guatemala, said that “the application of different trade procedures between the region with Mexico caused inconveniences and slowed down the growth of the industries and economies of the countries involved. With the implementation of the FTA, the rules will be the same for all of Central America, and there will be a standard for the benefits in trade.”
Mexico is a natural market for products and services of Central-Americans industries, to such an extent that Chiapas and Guatemala (Mexico’s immediate southern neighbor) recently created a Bureau of Tourism and Trade Facilitation between the two nations. It will be a permanent coordinator of dialogue and negotiation.
Mexican trade with Central America includes products such as fats and oils, natural rubber, textiles, paper, beverages, vinegar, glass, plastic materials, shrimp, lobsters, meat, fish, sugars, machines and mechanical appliances for placement in electronic devices (mainly produced in Mexico), and many other items.