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Guatemala presents results of its first Time Release Study

03 febrero 2020

On 30 January 2020, Guatemala Tax and Customs Authority (SAT) presented to an audience comprised of representatives from the public and private sector the results of its first Time Release Study (TRS). The TRS is an internationally accepted tool developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to measure the actual time taken for the release and/or clearance of goods – from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo – as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures relating to imports, exports and transit movements of goods. The release time includes the time taken by all government agencies, including Customs, in expediting the movement of goods.

Speaking at the event, WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Treviño Chapa, congratulated the SAT, highlighting that undertaking TRS regularly will enable it to assess trade facilitation needs and priorities, as well as to monitor and measure the outcomes of the implementation of specific measures and related policies, with the ultimate aim of helping Guatemala achieve its long-term socio-economic growth objectives.

Participants at this event included the Superintendent of Tax Administration (SAT), Mr. Abel Francisco Cruz Calderón, the Director General of Customs, Mr. Werner Ovalle Ramírez, three Vice-Ministers Mrs. Edith Flores de Molina, Mr. Saul Octavio Figueroa, and Mrs. Shirley Aguilar, as well as the President of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry, Mr. Eduardo Girón.

Representatives from 28 different public and private entities, involved in the clearance process and therefore in the TRS, were also in attendance. They all signed an undertaking where they committed to improve their respective processes and practices, and enhance coordination when needed.

By undertaking its first TRS, SAT complies with Article 7.6 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement which encourages countries to measure and publish their average release time of goods periodically and in a consistent manner, using tools such as the WCO TRS. Results from the TRS will also enable it to start a dialogue with international organizations assessing Customs administrations performance, including the World Bank and its Doing Business team, and to better convey its views.

WCO Secretariat experts had provided training and advice to Guatemala Customs in preparation to the TRS itself and assist the administration and TRS participants in drafting the TRS report. Other Customs administrations wishing to receive support in this area are invited to contact the WCO Secretariat.