The 541 companies in El Salvador currently exporting goods to Nicaragua will be the first to benefit from the connection of the two offices, which will expedite the process of obtaining permits and other paperwork.
The main promoter for this initiative in El Salvador has been the Center of Import and Export Procedures (CIEX), which launched the project in conjunction with customs authorities.
An article in Elmundo.com.sv notes: "the process records Salvadoran customs export transactions generated in the country, and automatically sends them electronically to the customs offices in Nicaragua, allowing the exporter to obtain joint authorizations from each of the entities through a single integrated process which takes approximately 30 seconds, said Jose Deras Cornelius, head of CIEX, in a statement released recently."
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A dedicated electronic processing desk for exports and imports in El Salvador (CIEX) is now connected to the local customs offices and those of Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Costa Rica will be added soon.
Cornelio Deras, director of the Center for Import and Export Procedures (CIEX), noted that the technology they are using allows them to connect to any country with whom they have a free trade agreement or a commercial interest. Also planned is an interconnection with Mexican customs, as soon as readjusted FTA is signed.
The customs offices of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador have been interconnected using the Integrated Foreign Trade System (SICEX by its initials in Spanish) since June.
The system aids export companies in reducing time and costs, by digitalizing the process of customs authorisation.
With an investment of $4.2 million, El Salvador will implement a new import system via the Internet in order to streamline the respective paperwork.
The Center for Imports and Exports of El Salvador (CIEX) will make available, from the second half of July, the new system which is expected to match the time of the export process already offered online, which averages 36 seconds per operation.
The competitiveness of the economies of the isthmus is being impaired by the inefficiency of the bureaucracy in the management of customs offices in the region.
The bureaucracy at customs offices has become a serious problem for the Central American region. Among other things it generates increases in the costs of exporting because of the procedures that must be paid for, loss of perishable goods and delays in production in processes that have to wait for raw materials.