Five years after its passage, many experts believe the agreement is only just beginning to show its real impact. To begin with, we must remember that trade between the US and the CAFTA countries is valued at over $45 billion annually.
An article by Tarun George in NearshoreAmericas analyzes whether the FTA has created a more productive relationship between the U.S. and Central America’s service outsourcing industry.
In terms of professional services, the main benefit of the treaty is that it implements a uniform set of laws across the entire region. “CAFTA lays out clear market obligations that countries have to uphold, which provide a lot of security to an investor”, says Esteban Aguero, Director of the Dept. of Control of Free Trade Agreements in Costa Rica.
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Panama became the center of debate regarding outsourcing services.
While some companies choose to keep all operations in one place, others prefer to diversify across Latin America, where the growth of shared service centers is increasing.
The conference, which was held in Panama City, brought together representatives from companies such as KPMG, Carvajal Technology and Services and TACA Airlines among others.
Direct marketing giant Amway is planning an operations center in Costa Rica.
Michigan newspaper "The Grand Rapids Press" obtained a confidential memo from the company to its employees. In it, the organization communicates that it is planning an "enterprise process center" in Costa Rica. This center would consolidate financial operations and processes for the entire Americas region.
The direct sales company invested $2 million to open a service center.
The first shared service center for the Americas will provide financial and accounting services for the region and in its first two years of operation will generate 160 direct jobs.
"This is the company's first venture into the shared services market and with near-shoring outsourcing", reported newspaper La Prensa Libre.
Outsourcing can become a big headache for a company and a source of serious losses if due attention is not paid to contractual details.
Steve Semerdjian, writing for nearshoreamericas.com, comments that, "while outsourcing has become commonplace in today’s business environment, the contracting process will, rightfully so, continue to challenge even the most senior outsourcing veterans".