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Guatemala, Honduras Take First Effective Step on Customs Union

LADB Article ID: 80401
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2017-09-07
By: George Rodríguez

Guatemala and Honduras have joined their customs systems, taking the first effective step toward the goal of a regional customs union that was first conceived over six decades ago and has been the focus of several initiatives. The idea originally surfaced in 1951, during a regional summit meeting in San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, when the Organización de Estados Centroamericanos (Organization of Central American States, ODECA) was created. Articles 16 and 18 of the ODECA agreement respectively referred to regional free trade and the creation of a Central American economic council. The council set the customs union goal in a meeting in August 1955, in Antigua, Guatemala. Several initiatives have been proposed, but none have succeeded Now Guatemala and Honduras have taken the first concrete step, leaving the bilateral initiative open to the other neighbors in the isthmus, a possibility El Salvador and Nicaragua are aiming at, perhaps by the end of this year. According to a joint statement from the Guatemalan and Honduran economy ministries quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP), the bilateral customs space covers just over 220,000 sq. km, or about 44% of Central America’s territory, and is home to around 24.1 million people, which is approximately 53% of the region’s population.

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