Central America

November 17, 2020 - November 18, 2020

El Salvador: Optimizing Operations Through Intergovernmental Cooperation and Centrally-Published Information

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.

November 2, 2020 - November 3, 2020

Guatemala: Strengthening Regional Trade Through Improved Public Consultation

CLDP, in collaboration with ITA, CBP, and USDA, will conduct a regional trade facilitation workshop on public consultation for Guatemalan government and private sector representatives. Government officials from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras will also participate in the workshop to encourage regional integration. The Guatemalan government can improve the transparency and effectiveness of the regulatory process through  transparent and consistent public consultation processes. Uniform public consultation mechanisms across Guatemalan trade ministries will attract investment, stimulate economic growth, and improve prosperity through increased trade across Central America.

October 6, 2020

Honduras: CLDP Distributes Webinar on Advance Rulings Publication & Transparency

On October 6, CLDP distributed a webinar on advance rulings publication and transparency best practices to the Honduran Customs Authority. CLDP worked closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to develop an in-depth webinar as part of a series of workshops with the Honduran Customs Authority to promote transparency, cooperation, and coordination within the Honduran government and to improve intraerregional trade across Central America. 

February 24, 2020 - February 27, 2020

El Salvador: CLDP Organizes Textile Consultations and CAFTA-DR Workshop

On February 24-26, 2020, CLDP, in collaboration with USTR, organized a series of consultations for a delegation of 11 U.S. textiles industry experts to assess Salvadoran textile and apparel capabilities in San Salvador, El Salvador. The U.S. delegation was also accompanied by representatives from USTR, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and ITA's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).

Salvadoran textile and apparel producers of all sizes struggle with effective design and marketing, which affects their ability to create new business opportunities with U.S. customers. These struggles are further intensified by lack of effective higher education programs in design and marketing in El Salvador. Similarly, apprentice and smaller-scale U.S. designers and entrepreneurs often face challenges finding companies to produce small runs or custom products. Recognizing the mutual benefits of marrying these opportunities, CLDP and USTR brought a delegation of U.S. fashion SMEs and educators, to meet with nine Salvadoran enterprises of varying sizes to foster a dialogue exploring trade and education opportunities. The Salvadoran enterprises included large, sophisticated exporting companies, small and medium-sized textiles and apparel producers, budding fashion entrepreneurs, and relevant government agency representatives. During the consultations, U.S. experts advised Salvadoran colleagues on practical methods to improving marketing strategies, developing business opportunities, enhancing supply chain efficiencies, and addressing sourcing issues within the CAFTA region.

As a result of these consultations, the Salvadoran counterparts gained an in-depth understanding of how U.S. fashion SMEs are trained and operate their businesses, what challenges they face, and how both parties can collaborate on robust business opportunities. The consultations also contribute to the CLDP-USTR Program’s sustainability through educational exchange opportunities between the participants. These consultations form part of CLDP-USTR’s three-year capacity-building program to improve regional prosperity by fostering human and institutional capacity to improve the competitiveness of the Salvadoran industry and enhance export opportunities along the full US–CAFTA-DR supply chain.

The consultations concluded with a one-day workshop on textile and apparel provisions within the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) on February 27, 2020. In attendance were more than 125 Northern Triangle textile and apparel industry representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as Salvadoran government officials and university representatives. The Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles, Bill Jackson, opened the workshop with a discussion on CAFTA textile and apparel trade in terms of global commerce. Over the course of the workshop, Salvadoran participants were introduced to technical textile and apparel provisions of the CAFTA-DR including short supply, verification procedures, and rules of origin. USG experts encouraged participants to apply the technical knowledge to their own businesses through active discussions and interactive case studies. The workshop aimed to strengthen the industry’s understanding and utilization of the CAFTA-DR to enhance the U.S.-regional supply chain. As a result of this workshop, industry representatives from the Northern Triangle - El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras - will be better able to utilize the CAFTA-DR to source yarn and textiles and to strengthen the regional supply chain, thereby increasing economic growth and development for the industry in the region.

November 19, 2019 - November 20, 2019

Honduras: Optimizing Operations Through Intergovernmental Cooperation and Centrally-Published Information

On November 19-20, 2019, CLDP, in collaboration with ITA, CBP, and USDA, conducted a trade facilitation workshop on optimizing operations through intergovernmental cooperation and centrally-published information for more than 70 government officials and private sector representatives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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

Honduran government participants included representatives from the Ministries of Customs, Economic Development, Finances, Infrastructure, National Agri-Food Health and Safety Service, and the Health Regulation Agency. They were joined by their counterparts from Guatemalan and Costa Rican Ministries of Economy, Customs, and Agriculture. From the Honduran private sector, the Honduran Council on Private Enterprise, American Chamber of Commerce in Honduras, and the National Federation of Customs Agents participated.

After opening remarks from Honduran Vice President Maria Antonia Rivera and U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Fernando Cossich, 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 Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala as well as the Honduran private sector each presented their perspectives and plans to continue facilitating trade through enhanced transparency and coordination. The workshop concluded with an interactive case study showcasing the importance of incorporating the private sector and governmental priorities in allocating technical assistance funding.

In preparation for the workshop, the Honduran participants performed internal assessments of their respective ministry’s implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) Article 1. 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, and current plans and 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 Honduras to improve its interagency coordination and create its TFA Art. 1.4 transparency notification, which outlines the official sites where trade-related information is published. The Honduran government presented the final notification at the workshop and plans to submit the notification to the WTO in the coming weeks.

As a result of this workshop, the Honduran 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 Honduran government, and to improve interregional trade in Central America.

October 22, 2019 - October 23, 2019

El Salvador: CLDP and USTR Conduct Workshop on Building Effective Marketing Strategies and Practices for Salvadoran Textile Industry

On October 22-23, 2019, CLDP and USTR conducted a workshop on ‘Building Effective Marketing Strategies and Practices,’ for approximately 100 government officials, academics, and industry representatives from El Salvador and Guatemala in San Salvador, El Salvador. Participants included Guatemalan and Salvadoran representatives from micro, small, and medium-sized textiles and apparel producers, academics from the Catholic University of El Salvador, and representatives of Hanes Brand’s Central America division.

Salvadoran textile and apparel producers of all sizes struggle with effective design and marketing, which affects their ability to create new business opportunities. These struggles are further intensified by a lack of training opportunities and higher education programs in design and marketing in El Salvador.

To address these areas of need, CLDP and USTR conducted a workshop on building and effectively implementing targeted marketing strategies. The purpose of this workshop is to build technical capacity to support the Salvadoran producers’ efforts to maximize opportunities by improving their independent marketing strategies. Strengthening the capabilities and efficiencies of the Salvadoran textile and apparel industry will enhance export opportunities along the full US – CAFTA-DR supply chain. 

The workshop served as a foundation to showcase effective marketing strategies tailored for the textile and apparel industry such as defining brand advocacy, strengthening presentation delivery, creating new opportunities, and improving targeted research and development efforts. To achieve this, CLDP and USTR called upon university professors, as well as industry leaders from the U.S. with extensive experience with trend forecasting, content creation, digital marketing, communication strategies, and sustainability. The presentations showcased prioritizing research and development, maximizing meetings with potential buyers, understanding global trends in marketing, and harnessing social media to innovate with limited resources. To conclude, the experts led the participants in interactive case studies that supported entrepreneurial development through creation of various marketing strategies.

As a result of this workshop, textile and apparel industry representatives in Central America’s Northern Triangle increased their understanding of the nuances inherent to communicating with customers through marketing campaigns, and how to effectively convey their respective brands through targeted marketing to enhance the industry’s competitive advantage. This workshop is part of a multiphase effort to improve regional economic prosperity in the Northern Triangle by strengthening the Salvadoran textile industry’s competitiveness through enhanced efficiency and communication within the integrated supply chain.

September 24, 2019 - September 25, 2019

Honduras: CLDP Conducts Workshop on Technical Aspects of Microgrids

On September 24-25, 2019, CLDP conducted a workshop for the Honduran energy regulator, energy ministry and electricity utility on technical aspects of microgrid regulations. The workshop covered electricity rate design, energy efficiency, and interconnection. The workshop was a follow-up to the CLDP-led study tour in May 2019 to Puerto Rico. The Honduran regulator will be procuring a consultant in early 2020 with the financial assistance of the Interamerican Development Bank to draft the microgrid regulations. Microgrids represent an opportunity for both rural electrification and economic development in rural and industrial areas. Due to the degradation of Honduras's transmission and distribution lines, American companies, particularly textiles companies looking to take advantage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, have been more hesitant to invest in Honduras for fear of burning out expensive equipment in a power outage. By allowing companies or industrial parks to have their own microgrids, it will spur economic development and job creation.

July 10, 2019 - July 11, 2019

El Salvador: Workshop on Building Innovation in Processes and Proactively Developing Products

On July 10-11, 2019, CLDP and USTR conducted a workshop on ‘Building Innovation in Processes and Proactively Developing Products,’ for 108 government officials, academics, and industry representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in San Salvador, El Salvador.

 

May 15, 2019

San Salvador, El Salvador: CLDP & ITA lead Workshop on Best Practices: Implementing a 60-day Notice and Comment Period

On May 15, 2019, CLDP & ITA conducted a workshop on Best Practices: Implementing a 60-day Notice and Comment Process” for approximately 30 representatives of the Salvadoran Customs Administration (DGA). The Salvadoran Customs Administration has demonstrated a concerted interest in implementing a 60-day notice and comment process for all customs regulations.

The workshop served as a foundation to uniformly instruct the participants on the intricacies of various public consultation mechanisms and institutionalize good regulatory practices as the Salvadoran Customs Administration prepares to create an internal policy to require all customs regulations be subject to a 60-day notice and comment period. Compared to other countries in the region, El Salvador has the greatest momentum toward reforming its public consultation procedures. As such, strengthening the Salvadoran government’s understanding of international best practices for public consultation will benefit the region by building momentum and serving as an example of what the remaining countries can work toward.

To achieve this, CLDP and ITA called upon several interagency experts with extensive experience with public consultation, particularly the notice and comment rulemaking process. The experts provided an overview of the legal underpinning of public consultation, assessed duration determinations for consultation processes, shared methodologies for reviewing and responding to comments received, and discussed whole-of-government approaches to improving transparency and governance mechanisms. Additionally, the experts walked through illustrative examples that showcased the consultation process from start to finish.

As a result of this workshop, the Salvadoran Customs Administration has increased its understanding of notice and comment processes within an international trading scheme. 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.

May 13, 2019 - May 14, 2019

El Salvador: Workshop on Regulatory Impact Analysis

On May 13-14, 2019, CLDP & ITA conducted a workshop on ‘Best Practices: Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA),” for 25 government representatives from El Salvador’s Regulatory Improvement Agency (OMR) in San Salvador, El Salvador.

 

In December of 2018, the Salvadoran Regulatory Improvement Law was passed, thereby formalizing OMR as the oversight body for El Salvador’s public consultation processes effective April 9, 2019. To support OMR as it assumes the role of coordinating and overseeing El Salvador’s notice and comment procedures, Commerce organized a workshop that set forth best practices on conducting effective regulatory impact analyses. 

 

Currently there does not exist a legal framework for regulatory impact analysis in El Salvador. Moreover, Salvadoran ministries struggle to coordinate with one another, further hindering interagency coordination and stakeholder engagement required to perform transparent analysis of the anticipated consequences of economically significant regulatory actions. Recognizing the importance ofinstitutionalizing best practices and encouraging efficiency in the Salvadoran regulatory review process, CLDP & ITA led a two-day workshop that showcased best practices for performing regulatory impact analyses.

 

The workshop showcased how U.S. agencies approach regulatory impact analyses from the initial assessment that quantifies and monetizes the anticipated costs and benefits of a proposed regulation, to identifying alternative regulatory actions. To achieve this, CLDP & ITA called upon interagency experts to share best practices in implementing a whole-of-government approach for improved governance and transparency in the regulatory process. The experts provided an overview of the legal framework for regulatory impact analysis in the U.S. and illustrated howeffective coordination within and among agencies is essential to achieving regulatory coherence. Moreover, the experts shared practical tools that OMR can implement across the government to increase private sector input in the regulatory process. To conclude, the experts led the participants in interactive case studies that simulated minor proposed changes to sweeping regulatory revisions.

 

As a result of this workshop, OMR increased its understanding of efficiency in the regulatory review process within an international trading scheme. 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.