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

November 19, 2019 - November 20, 2019

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.

Upcoming Programs

July 1, 2020 - August 31, 2020

Most of Iraq’s hydrocarbons are located in the province of Basrah. In spite of these mineral resources, unemployment is high in the province. To increase the likelihood that university graduates will be hired, since the summer of 2019, CLDP, in close cooperation with the University of Houston/Petroleum Technology Initiative (PTI), has been conducting a program to equip students from four Basrah universities with the skills sought by International Oil Companies (IOC) that operate in the province. A key skill required from new hires by the IOCs is competence in project management. To this end, PTI, under a contract with CLDP developed and taught in Houston in August 2019, a two-week course on “Project Management in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production”. This course was taught to delegations from four Basrah universities: Basrah University, Southern Technical University, Basrah University for Oil and Gas, Basrah Oil Training institute. Each university was supposed to send one professor and three students to Houston. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond their control, three of the professors were unable to attend the two-week course in Houston, a course that was very well-received by the lone professor and by all the students. Therefore, at CLDP’s request, PTI will now develop an online version of this course, to be used by the universities of the professors who could not go to Houston in August 2019. This development will take place in July and August 2020. 

July 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020

In July, August, and September 2020, CLDP, in collaboration with USTR and the University of Missouri, will provide virtual business fundamental courses to 20 Salvadoran textile representatives. CLDP has partnered with a textile and apparel expert who will conduct group sessions, as well as tailored sessions depending on the needs and businesses of the selected representatives. Lessons will cover business plan development and implementation, mentorship opportunities, local business resources, and personnel management. Furthermore, the sessions will give the Salvadoran textiles representatives the opportunity to begin developing comprehensive plans to effectively disseminate the knowledge they acquire during this program broadly across the industry with other textile professionals in El Salvador. Participants, who represent the Salvadoran private sector, key government agencies, and academia, will continue to engage their U.S. counterparts in this project for the remainder of the CLDP programming throughout 2021. This project is a part of CLDP’s and USTR’s capacity-building program to improve regional prosperity by fostering human and institutional capacity to improve the competitiveness of the Salvadoran textile industry.

CLDP in Action

July 30, 2020

As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Commerce’s Office of Russia, Europe, and Eurasia (ORUE)CLDP participated in a video meeting with Javlon Vakhabov, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States on June 25, 2020, to discuss Uzbekistan’s Strategy for the Development of Agriculture in 2020-2030. 

Read More about CLDP Draws upon Interagency Relationships to Assist Uzbekistan in Implementing its New Agricultural Strategy