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Private Sector Case Study

problems in the Central American Common Market and in the foreign economic relationships and to safeguard the interests of the Central American productive sector�. FECAICA promotes the improvement of Central American economic integration process, monitors compliance with international commitments and with the periods of time agreed upon and oversees the proper application of subscribed agreements and protocols. In addition, FECAICA advocates for the simplification of export rules, the training of human resources and the adoption of an integral, consistent foreign trade policy. At the Central American level, SMEs have the support of the Center for the Promotion of the Micro and Small Company in Central America (CENPROMYPE). The purpose of this entity, which is part of the Central American Integration System (SICA), is to encourage and strengthen SMEs by means of processes and innovative instruments to develop business and enhance their competitiveness. Summing up, Central American countries have been able to capitalize the experience of the last years and to create institutions that count not only on the suitable skills and training to face the challenges of trade negotiations but also on the representation of sectors directly and indirectly involved. Even though the process of trade opening and liberalization has encountered opposition, over the last years there has been a better promotion of its most relevant aspects, it being clear that there is a need for more active participation of the private sector and the civil society in the formulation, negotiation and application of the trade policy. The Private Sector in Connection with Central America’s Customs Union and CAFTA–DR The Customs Union is one of the major issues in the regional trade agenda. It is in connection with the negotiation and implementation of this particular issue that the private sector has proved to have the most active participation and the governments to be more open. National consultation mechanisms and regional private fora have contributed to strengthen their participation. Fortysix years of regional integration are not in vain. (See article 1) On the issue of the CAFTA-DR, the private sector underlines the fact that the agreement contributes to the process of regional integration; but at the same time, leading entrepreneurs in the region consider that there are a series of tasks to be addressed in the short term so that such agreement can really accomplish its objective. The list of the tasks referred to includes: proper implementation, an accompanying agenda for the more vulnerable sectors and the completion of the Customs Union. The private sector underscores that the CAFTA-DR was useful to demonstrate that Central America could work as a region, and that it was also valuable as forum for the creation of regional alliances both at government and business level. The region had not experienced this type of alliances since the beginning of the CACM. At the same time, the perception is that this trade agreement has also demonstrated the constraints and divergences among the five Central American economies. It is not surprising that those sectors or areas that have entered into bilateral negotiations with the United States coincide with the tasks that have not been concluded in connection with the Central American Customs

mobilizing aid for trade: focus on latin america and the caribbean: proceedings of the regional r...  

this report was prepared by the integration and trade sector (int) as a contribution to the regional meeting on mobilizing aid for trade: la...

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