Guatemala sets the goal to have 60 companies approved as Authorized Economic Operator on 2019
More than 200 importing and exporting firms, shipping agencies and customs agents participated at the third edition of the Authorized Economic Operator Congress, organized by AGEXPORT’s Export Services Commission along with the Tax Administration Superintendence, the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry, Combex-IM, APM Terminals and the European Union’s “More Competitive Cooperatives and SMEs” program.
During this event, two companies will receive the clearance to function as Authorized Economic Operator, joining the 40 companies in Guatemala already certified previously. For 2019, we have the objective of having a total of 60 companies certified as Authorized Economic Operator and become the leading country of the region. This has been possible due to a common agenda between public and private institutions; said Mrs. Leticia Salazar, president of AGEXPORT’s Export Services Commission.
The Organized Economic Operator Congress is the result of a joint work between public and private institutions with the common goal of building a safe and trustable foreign trade system where customs authorities, shipping companies, users and service providers work together.
It is important for public and private companies to join hands and support the implementation of the International Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is why we keep betting on the Organized Economic Operator certification as the key to allow us to improve our competitiveness along the logistics chain; said Mr. Werner Ovalle, Guatemala’s Customs Intendent.
During the event, experts from Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico spoke about International Best Practices, lessons and benefits of being an Authorized Economic Operator, among other topics.
Being an event with regional scope, we hope to promote the Organized Economic Operator certification in Central America. As well, during the event we will sign an agreement with Taiwanese authorities for a mutual recognition of this certification, making Guatemala a trustable and safe allied for Taiwan and expediting the clearance of Guatemalan shipments in Taiwan and vice versa; said Mrs. Connie de Paiz, AGEXPORT’s President.
Applying to be certified as an Authorized Economic Operator has no cost for the company. It only needs to agree to work on improving any gap identified by the authorities on trade-related procedures and comply with requirements like guaranteeing the company had not breached any legal, customs or tax-related regulation and having more than three years of experience on foreign trade transactions. After submitting the required paperwork to the Tax Authority and demonstrating the compliance of the previous requirements, the company should expect to receive the clearance as Authorized Economic Operator on two or three months.
We call all companies that have the interest and have already started the procedures to be certified as Authorized Economic Operators to continue your efforts to comply with all regulations. We know this implies extra efforts for the company, but the benefits greatly exceed the costs. The more players the country adds to this certification, Guatemala has the opportunity to build better foreign trade relations, which is positive for the competitiveness of our country internationally; said Mr. Javier Zepeda, CEO of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry.
To date, Guatemala has 40 companies certified as Authorized Economic Operators and 91% of those have already perceived great benefits in topics like security, training of its labor force, management, selection of providers, compliance with best practices, among others. This also helps the firm to build strong and positive relationships with the country’s customs authorities as it can guarantee that its operations are safe and comply with high national and international standards; said. Mrs. Salazar.
On 2018, foreign trade activities in Guatemala represented a total of US$30.7 billion, a 4.3% increase compared to 2017. 42% of last years’ figure were exports while the remaining 58% were imports. In terms of volume, 31,563,369 tons were moved in Guatemala, 77.9% by sea, 21.8% by ground and 0.3% by air.