The Guatemalan Minister of Economy, Luis Velasquez, has submitted a proposal to the Council of Ministers of Economy of Central America (Comieco) which aims to add an amendment to DR-CAFTA on error correction mechanisms.
According to the minister, certificates of origin of U.S. products are wrongly labelled as NAFTA, the trade agreement with the U.S., Canada and Mexico - meaning that when they enter the country they lose the tariff preferences of the regional FTAs.
"In March a proposal was sent on behalf of Central America and The Dominican Republic to the U.S. Trade Office, but they have not paid anyattention to it, so we are therefore insisting" he said.
Carolina Castellanos, executive director of the Guatemalan-American Chamber, said that under the FTA products do not require certificates of origin, only affidavits.
"However, perhaps due to ignorance, U.S. exporters are erroneously sending certified products with the NAFTA stamp, so on admission, the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) is applying tariffs, believing that there is no assurance as to whether the product is from the U.S., Canada or Mexico", he said.
Raul Diaz, head of Customs at the SAT, said that the regional treaty states that the only way to prove the origin of a product is with a certificate – although it does not establish a single parameter - and when they are imported with mistakes they are accepted, and amended but the tariff preferences are lost.
"The law is clear and the only thing that the SAT is doing is applying the rules", said Diaz.
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The Dominican Republic, Central America and the U.S. agreed to make adjustments in agriculture, sanitary standards, textiles and disputes.
During the meeting held in El Salvador, government representatives began the meeting by reviewing developments in trade and investment.
Since the entry into force in 2006 of the DR-CAFTA, the tip in favor of the U.S. in the trade balance has multiplied by 5.
"The Central America to which President Barack Obama is coming to visit on on Friday is a region that maintains multiple communication vessels with the United States, including a growing trade relationship which in 2012 amounted to $40 billion, although very much in favor of the American power," reported Prensa.com.
The country has invoked the dispute settlement mechanism of the CAFTA-DR, over alleged violation by El Salvador of the tariff reduction program.
From a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica (COMEX):
The Ministry of Foreign Trade has requested the consultations mechanism against El Salvador, under the dispute settlement process of the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States of America (CAFTA), after a refusal, on the part of Salvadoran authorities to implement the tariff reduction program outlined in the aforementioned treaty on the import of products originating in Costa Rica.
Exporters of dehydrated ethanol claim that the U.S. is applying an ad valorem tax of 2.5% which is outside of the provisions of DR-CAFTA.
According to Anabel González, the Minister of Foreign Trade (Comex), Costa Rica has not exported the product during the second half of 2013, because the annual quota for receiving the benefits is 31 million gallons.