U.S. products are arriving with certificates of origin stating they are part of NAFTA, the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which means that when they enter Guatemala they lose their tax privileges from the FTA with Central America.
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.
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.
Companies are preparing for the process of tariff reduction for imported goods and services from the United States under the FTA.
Starting 2015 various products will be able to come into Nicaragua from the U.S. tax free. Employers are now preparing for the tariff reduction process of the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Central America and Dominican Republic (DR -CAFTA).