CLDP Results in Latin America and the Caribbean

CLDP has provided technical assistance to five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on a range of legal and commercial issues. Through agreements with USAID, CLDP has grown its presence in the region focusing on high-priority areas identified through technical exchanges between CLDP Attorney-Advisors and local counterparts. By promoting transparency initiatives, improving trade, supporting the development of small businesses and their inclusion in public procurement, and increasing the electrification of rural zones through microgrid infrastructure development, CLDP continues to build institutional capacity to fuel economic growth throughout the region. CLDP currently works in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.


Central America Microgrids

Access to reliable and affordable electricity is a fundamental requirement for emerging markets to transition from cottage industries to industrial scale efficiencies. In recent years, there has been significant progress in grid-based electrification in Central America by using national grids; however, a key restraint is the inability of the national grid to support energy needs of remote and rural households as well as industrial consumers. Microgrids however can address the gap that the national grid is unable to fill by supplying electricity to rural areas of Honduras. CLDP’s program seeks to accelerate economic growth through increased access to reliable and affordable power by encouraging investment in microgrid development.

Goals:

  • Build the capacity of public and private sectors to improve the energy infrastructure;
  • Include rural areas in regional economic and industrial development.

Program Areas:

  • Facilitate private investment in microgrid projects through reduced transaction costs and the incorporation of commercial risk mitigation best practices;
  • Develop standardized contracts that can be used by communities and private companies to create microgrids.

Central America Trade Facilitation

CLDP works closely with the International Trade Administration (ITA) Office of the Western Hemisphere to implement the Central America Customs, Border Management, and Supply Chain Program in Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). This trade facilitation programming supports the Northern Triangle governments in implementing transparency initiatives to improve and simplify customs clearance procedures that strengthen trade ties, boost regional integration through exports, and increase job creation. By promoting regional integration and creating economic opportunity, CLDP’s trade facilitation programing addresses security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and illicit trafficking, while increasing opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The Program also promotes the prosperity objectives set forth in the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America and the Alliance for Prosperity Initiative by strengthening implementation of, and ensuring compliance with, the commitments outlined in both the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA).

Goals:

  • Reduce delays for moving U.S. goods across borders to support trade and encourage sustainable supply chains between the U.S. and Central America;
  • Develop consensus among Central American governments and businesses to implement trade facilitation reforms that improve border procedures and reduce trade costs;
  • Improve efficiency and transparency in cross-border trade;
  • Strengthen WTO TFA implementation.

Program Areas:

  • Support robust implementation of WTO TFA Articles related to efficiency and transparency including public consultation, publication of information, border agency cooperation, and advanced rulings;
  • Foster effective National Trade Facilitation Committees in each country that regularly coordinate with one another to address regional issues.

El Salvador – Textiles Competitiveness

CLDP has partnered with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to implement a textiles competitiveness program to improve regional prosperity in Central America by fostering human and institutional capacity to strengthen the Salvadoran textile industry. With textiles and apparel representing 46% of total Salvadoran exports, the apparel sector is the leading manufacturing employer in El Salvador and the primary employer of women, who are often the primary earners. Despite trade preferences, benefits under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), and recent advances in product innovation, Central American textile and apparel producers have struggled to compete against low-wage Asian competitors. The CLDP/USTR textiles competitiveness program focuses on building capacity across the Salvadoran industry in four areas: innovating operations and production processes; strengthening supply-chain management; building effective marketing strategies; and strengthening utilization of the CAFTA-DR Agreement. Continued growth and development of the Salvadoran textiles industry is critical to creating relatively high-paying formal sector jobs, reducing poverty, and stemming irregular migration, thus promoting a more prosperous and stable region.

Goals:

  • Build human and institutional capacity of the Salvadoran textile and apparel industry;
  • Foster a skilled workforce, improve regional value chains, and promote innovation and efficiencies in private enterprise.

Program Areas:

  • Strengthening utilization of the CAFTA-DR agreement;
  • Building innovation in operations and production processes;
  • Strengthening supply chain management;
  • Building effective marketing strategies and practices.

Dominican Republic – Public Procurement

CLDP has an interagency agreement with the USAID Mission in the Dominican Republic (DR) to assist the national government in improving the transparency and effectiveness of the country’s public procurement system for citizen security institution contracts and in increasing access to government contracts for small and women-owned businesses. CLDP, in close cooperation with the DR’s national procurement agency (Dirección General de Contrataciones Públicas) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, conducts programming to identify legal and procedural gaps that undermine transparency, efficiency, or small business access in the procurement system and to develop strategies to address these gaps. CLDP also conducts training programs for government personnel to ensure compliance with local procurement laws and regulations and to share U.S. and international best practices for increasing the level of transparency and competition in government tenders. CLDP also organizes events and workshops to connect public and private sector stakeholders to improve communication between the government and industry and to improve the government’s ability to conduct market research.

Goals:

  • To improve the transparency and effectiveness of the Dominican Republic’s procurement system for citizen security institutions;
  • To improve access for micro, small and women-owned businesses.

Program Areas:

  • Build the capacity of government contracting officials to plan and implement transparent government tenders and to effectively manage contracts;
  • Develop a certification program for procurement personnel;
  • Establish procurement technical assistance centers within small business development centers in the country to assist small and women-owned businesses;
  • Improve contracting methods and procedures to prepare for and respond to natural disasters;
  • Strengthen bid protest mechanisms and engage the private sector and civil society to enhance oversight of procurements.

Upcoming Programs

There are no events for this region at this time.

CLDP in Action

November 17, 2020 - November 18, 2020

On November 17-18, 2020, CLDP, in collaboration with ITA and CBP, conducted a virtual workshop setting forth best practices for border agency coordination and publication of trade-related information to facilitate trade for more than 100 regional representatives from across Central America.

Inefficient agency coordination and disjointed publication of information collectively reduce the efficacy and transparency of the regulatory process in El Salvador, further engendering distrust between the private and public sectors. To address these areas of need, CLDP conducted a workshop that set forth best practices on optimizing operations through intergovernmental cooperation and centrally published information.

Participants included Salvadoran private sector representatives and officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Customs, Defense, Economy, Finance, Health, Infrastructure, Medicines, and Ports. They were joined by their counterparts from the Guatemalan, Honduran, and Costa Rican Ministries of Economy, Customs, and Agriculture. From the Salvadoran private sector, the American Chamber of Commerce in El Salvador and the Commission of Associations to Facilitate Trade in El Salvador (CIFACIL) participated.

The workshop saw high-level participation from both governments with opening remarks from the Salvadoran Secretary of Commerce, Jorge Miguel Kattán; Salvadoran Minister of Economy, Maria Luisa Hayem; CLDP Deputy Chief Counsel, Joe Yang; and the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Ronald Johnson. Following the workshop’s inauguration, experts showcased best practices for effective coordination among agencies, consolidation of information related to import and export procedures, and uniform publication of information across agency websites. Representatives from the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras presented to regional and USG counterparts as well as the private sector on their efforts to identify publication gaps across ministerial websites and create internal strategies to ensure compliance with the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement’s (WTO TFA) publication of information commitments. In addition to government-to-government presentations, the Salvadoran private sector representatives shared their experience navigating websites of Salvadoran trade ministries and suggested areas for improvement. The workshop concluded with an interactive panel discussion where each country representative discussed their respective efforts to encourage trade through enhanced transparency initiatives and increased collaboration both internally with regional counterparts and externally with the private sector.

In preparation for the workshop, the Salvadoran participants performed internal assessments of their respective ministry’s implementation of Article 1 of the WTO TFA. Specifically, participants compiled an inventory of current procedures and documents related to TFA Art. 1.1 that can only be found or completed in paper form, current procedures and documents related to Art. 1.1 that can only be found or completed online/through the internet, and current plans or strategies to publish the procedures, documents, and information related to TFA Art. 1.1 online. In addition, participants examined TFA Art. 8.1, border agency cooperation, and identified the gaps in communication and cooperation between their ministries to support publication of trade information. The Article 1 assessment exercise served as the foundation for El Salvador to improve its interagency coordination and enrich its TFA Art. 1.4 transparency notification, which outlines the official sites where trade-related information is published. The Salvadoran government is working with the private sector to finalize the notification and plans to submit the updated notification to the WTO in the coming weeks.

As a result of this workshop, the Salvadoran government has improved its interagency coordination, and increased its understanding of the importance of publishing trade-related information in a non-discriminatory, easy-to-access manner. This workshop is part of a multiphase effort to promote transparency, cooperation, and coordination for the Salvadoran government, and to improve interregional trade in Central America.