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WCO participates in the launch ceremony for a national and regional Time Release Study report

08 diciembre 2021

At the invitation of the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and the Vice-Chair for the World Customs Organization (WCO) Americas and Caribbean region, the WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa, participated in the launch ceremony for a national and regional Time Release Study (TRS) report covering the SIECA region. The event was held on 6 December 2021 in Guatemala.

The event brought together various dignitaries including the Minister of Economic Integration and Trade of the Republic of Guatemala, Mr. Antonio Malouf, the Secretary-General of SIECA, Mr. Francisco A. Lima Mena, a representative of the European Union (EU), the Directors General and representatives of all six SIECA Member Customs administrations, namely, Mr. Werner Ovalle, Director General of Guatemala Customs and Vice-Chair for the WCO Americas/Caribbean region, Ms. Samadhy Martínez, Director General of El Salvador Customs, Mr. Juan José Vides, Director General of Honduras Customs, Mr. Eddy Artola, Director of Risk Management within the General Directorate of Customs of Nicaragua, Mr. Gerardo Bolaños, Director General of Costa Rica Customs, Mr. Juan Pablo García, Deputy Logistics Director within the National Customs Authority of Panama, trade stakeholders and other participants from the SIECA region.

During his opening remarks, Mr. Ricardo Treviño Chapa expressed his gratitude to the SIECA Secretariat and its Member Customs administrations as well as to the EU for working together with the WCO to carry out a TRS in all six SIECA Members. Mr. Treviño Chapa acknowledged that it was a great honour for the WCO to witness its tools, such as the TRS Guide, being used by SIECA Member Customs administrations, particularly at the regional level.

After underscoring the importance of conducting a TRS, the Deputy Secretary General highlighted the fact that measuring clearance times was an essential step that offered an excellent opportunity to improve trade flows both regionally and globally. He stressed that this was the first time, under the current pandemic conditions, that a TRS closely following the WCO methodology had been conducted at regional level across six countries. 

In addition, Mr. Treviño Chapa recommended that the SIECA Member Customs administrations implement the actions set out in the report. He also urged SIECA and its Members to continue measuring clearance times as this was of great benefit to all, including the region.

The event afforded an opportunity to the six SIECA Member Customs administrations to present their respective national TRS report, indicating the average national clearance times observed during the study. The Members emphasized the major bottlenecks detected during the study as well as a number of measures that needed to be introduced to address them.   

It is worth noting that the WCO gave technical assistance to the six SIECA Member Customs administrations under the Central American Trade Facilitation Strategy. The assistance was provided in close cooperation with the SIECA Secretariat and with full financial support from the EU.