About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FTZ Expansion in Guatemala: Nightmare on Chapines Street

During the World Economic Forum in July, a "debate" about "how can Latin America become a more prosperous, democratic, integrated and globally relevant region over the next decade" between the presidents of Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, the DR, and Paraguay produced few new statements. Panama argued that everybody throw their trade doors wide open and stop the backwards practice of trying to protect their own national industries and agriculture while Paraguay's Lugo stated that any integration in Latin America would have to go beyond just economics and into the cultural and political. What stood out to me was President Colom from Guatemala's excitement over increased Mexican and Colombian investment in Guatemala. With my focus on increased Chinese investment in the region, I haven't given much attention to the increase in regional trade beyond the Bolivarian experiment.

Sure enough, Guatemala is making a full push to remove legislation that slows down the creation and approval of Free Trade Zones. Essentially, by 2015, most trade barriers and protections will need to be removed from Guatemala so that they can be more competitive. And who is the big competitor that Guatemalan trade ministers and economists seem to be so worried about and mention time and again that they want to emulate: El Salvador. El Salvador, the economic, environmental, and demographic nightmare that never seems to find the dawn is Guatemala's new future. Good luck with that. Pop on over to CISPES and tell me how that is going to work out for you.

How long can people cry out about the history of these free trade zones in Latin America before someone starts to listen?

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