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

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.

Upcoming Programs

August 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021

Throughout the quarter, CLDP engaged with numerous experts to prepare and record eight separate sessions on trade topics, specifically designed for Afghanistan’s approximately 25 Commercial Attachés posted throughout the world. In May 2018, CLDP spent one week training the same group of Attachés in a comprehensive course designed for them prior to their departure. This updated training course is intended to provide more advanced training on relevant topics now that the Attachés have been serving in their posts for more than two years.  The topics for these presentations were identified based on consultations with the Attachés and relevant stakeholders in the last quarter. Topics include drafting international contracts, attracting foreign direct investment, negotiation strategies, and two sessions on working trade shows. The series of pre-recorded virtual presentations, including translated copies of the presentations, will be delivered on a rolling basis to the Attachés. In addition, future topics will be recorded and shared with the participants. These virtual recordings will be saved in an online repository, which will be available for any interested party to view, including the private sector. 

March 15, 2021 - May 24, 2021

CLDP in close collaboration with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trained Bahrain Innovation and Technology Center (BITC) staff regarding filing patents in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).  This program was part of a CLDP/USPTO collaboration to conduct over 40 hours of intellectual property training for the BITC.  The program included training on how to obtain patents and copyrights in the US as well as other jurisdictions.  

CLDP in Action

February 24, 2021 - February 25, 2021

On February 24-25, CLDP conducted a workshop on FIDIC contracts for a delegation of Sri Lankan officials from the Attorney General’s office.

Read More about Sri Lanka: FIDIC Contracts Workshop