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Guatemala: CLDP & ITA Conduct Regional Public Consultation Workshop (TFA Art. 2 & 8)

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala provides opening remarks at CLDP-ITA workshop.

On August 10-11, 2021, CLDP, in collaboration with ITA, conducted a virtual workshop setting forth best practices for border agency coordination, and publication of trade-related information to facilitate trade for more than 60 regional representatives from across Central America.  

Currently, there does not exist a legal framework for formal public consultation mechanisms in Guatemala, and public consultation practices vary among the ministries that do participate in consultation processes. Recognizing the importance of fostering transparency to improve Guatemala’s regional competitiveness, CLDP conducted a two-day virtual workshop to explore the intricacies of various public consultation mechanisms and institutionalize good regulatory practices as Guatemala works to develop a framework for formal public consultation. 

Participants included government officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Customs, Economy, Environment, Finance, Health, Human Rights, and Infrastructure. They were joined by their counterparts from the Salvadoran, Honduran, Costa Rican, and Mexican Ministries of Economy, Customs, and Agriculture. From the Guatemalan private sector, representatives from the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry (CIG) and the Business Commission for International Trade Negotiations (CENCIT) participated.  

The workshop saw high level participation from both governments with opening remarks from the Advisor to the Superintendent, Superintendency of the Guatemalan Tax Administration, Rene Gonzalez, and U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp. Following the workshop’s inauguration, U.S. experts showcased best practices for publishing proposed regulations, providing adequate notice to interested parties, and establishing meaningful comment periods to receive written comments. Representatives from the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico presented to regional and USG counterparts as well as the private sector on their respective public consultation processes and efforts to bolster private sector participation in the regulatory process, consistent with TFA Article 2 commitments. In addition to government-to-government presentations, private sector representatives shared their experience navigating existing consultation process and desired changes related to public consultation across various Guatemalan ministries. 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.  

As a result of this workshop, Guatemalan trade ministries have increased their understanding of public consultation mechanisms that bolster transparency and increase private sector input in the regulatory process. This workshop is part of a multiphase effort to promote transparency, cooperation, and coordination for the Guatemalan government, and to improve interregional trade in Central America. 

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