Nearshore Americas

Guatemala Gets Serious about Free Trade Zones to Boost Investment


Automated Translation from Spanish

Rep. Mariano Rayo anticipated that the Free Zones Act could be approved later this year.

The zones represent investments in the country, employment generation and value added to exporters. However, the country could lose these benefits by having an old law that regulates this activity, for which various sectors are urging the adoption of the initiative is in the Congress.

The 3858 bill, Free Zones Act, which seeks to amend the Decree 29-89, Law on the Promotion and Development of Export and Maquila activity, received a favorable opinion of the Committee on Economy and Foreign Trade of the Legislature in 2008, but since that time has not fully discussed.

This initiative aims to create conditions for promoting investment. “As a business we have participated with other organizations in the dialogue table in Congress, for presenting this proposal is innovative and futuristic,” said the director of the Competitiveness of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport), Fanny D. Estrada.

According to the executive, the amendments would create an incentive to help the country to attract foreign investment, given that “facilitates processes and improving coordination with other ministries, the idea is to be placed around the inner city to develop them,” he added.

The chairman of the legislative hall, Mariano Rayo, explained that there is still no date for reaching the full, but “the adoption of the Free Zones Act could happen later this year” ahead.

At this time the initiative was discussed in the congressional panel discussions with some 23 organizations, and is in discussion for items. “It would be desirable to repeal it in 2015, ending subsidies, which is one of the requirements of the WTO (World Trade Organization),” said D. Estrada.


According to the commissioner of Customs of the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT), Raul Diaz, if the initiative passes it will continue to work with the current, “which already has a couple of decades and that has many problems because it leaves us at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries in the region. ”

An example would be El Salvador, who has little time to abide by new laws for industrial parks, making it more competitive, the official added. “This implies that there are probably industrial or commercial operators who intend to transfer the activities of free zones,” said Diaz.

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The current law does not allow goods to enter the country and “this is counterproductive, so we would expect that retailers themselves can do so, because this measure will pay taxes. We have been waiting in Congress a new law to be more competitive, “said the official (read: In an emergency).

The chairman of the board of the Free Zone of Industry and Trade Santo Tomas de Castilla (ZOLIC), Cesar Ortiz, said the geographical position we have that makes us attractive and encourages the development and generating employment.

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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