Central American countries prepare for TRS in view of greater regional integration

08 December 2020

At the opening of the virtual Regional Seminar on Time Release Study (TRS) jointly organized on 7 December 2020 by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, welcomed the delegates from the Customs administrations of six Central American countries, namely, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.  

In his opening address, Secretary General Mikuriya expressed his thanks to Mr. Werner Ovalle, Director General of Guatemala Customs and Vice-Chair for the WCO Americas/Caribbean region, for launching this initiative, as well as to Mr. Melvin Redondo, Secretary General of SIECA, for the ongoing fruitful partnership based on the Memorandum of Understanding concluded in 2010. 

WCO Secretary General also stressed the importance of using the WCO TRS Guide to identify the bottlenecks at borders, whether caused by complex Customs procedures, slow procedures of other government agencies and service providers, outdated infrastructure or combination of these factors.  The TRS would provide the baseline data for improving efficiency at borders, which is why its use is recommended in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.  Dr. Mikuriya reconfirmed his willingness to continue to work with SIECA and its member countries to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Central America.

Vice-Chair Ovalle and Secretary General Redondo both extended their appreciation for the partnership with the WCO to advance regional integration in Central America given the critical importance of Customs.  They also underlined the significance of the joint TRS implemented by the six SIECA member countries.