Foreign Trade Developments in Latin America

Click on any of the following to see the latest foreign trade developments in that region:
Central America
North America
South America


Caribbean countries signed post-Brexit trade deal with the UK in March
Ministers and representatives from Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines signed a trade deal with the UK minister of state for trade policy, ensuring that businesses in the Caribbean will continue to receive trade without tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
For more information, see “UK and Caribbean Sign Post-Brexit Trade Deal,” March 25, 2019,

Caribbean countries create the Caribbean Customs Organization
The signing of the document creating the organization took place in Cuba on May 22 at the XLI Annual Conference of the Caribbean Council for the Application of Customs Laws (CCALA). The entity will be responsible for encouraging cooperation between customs authorities in the Caribbean region.
For more information, see “Crean en Cuba la Organizacion de Aduanas del Caribe,” May 23, 2019,

Cuban government installs X-ray inspection equipment in Varadero
The equipment of the series CX150180SI was manufactured in China, part of the CUP6 million that the Asian government loaned to the Cuban government to modernize its customs service. The equipment is expected to be useful in the detection of drugs, arms, and explosives.
For more information, see “Instalan ‘Novedoso’ Equipo de Rayos X en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Varadero,” May 14, 2019,

Cuba now allows importation of routers
The Cuban government has announced the legalization of private Wi-Fi networks and the importation of routers and antennas to the country. The process to import these goods is expected to take up to 30 days.
For more information, see “Cuba Legaliza el WiFi Doméstico y la Importación de ‘Routers’,” May 29, 2019,

Dominican Republic banned imports of tires older than four years in April
The government has trained agents of the Directorate General for Transit and Transportation Security (DIGESETT) on how to recognize old tires and provided them with equipment.
For more information, see “Desde Este Viernes Queda Prohibida Importación de Neumáticos de Más de Cuatro Años de Fabricación,” April 26, 2019,

Central America

Northern Triangle Customs Union will allow free circulation of animal products
In the spring, the vice ministers of economy of the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) engaged in multilateral negotiations, which led to an agreement regarding the free trade of animal products between the three countries. In contrast to animal products, negotiations for the free trade of vegetal products have stalled due to concerns about the risk of disease transmission.
For more information, see “Unión Aduanera Permitirá Libre Circulación de Productos de Origen Animal,” March 25, 2019,

Central American countries sign agreement to create Central American Digital Commerce Platform (PDCC)
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica have signed an agreement to advance trade facilitation through the development of a Central American Digital Commerce Platform (PDCC). The vice minister of foreign trade of Costa Rica will be in charge of implementing this initiative.
For more information, see “Crearán Plataforma de Comercio Digital,” March 29, 2019,

Central American Single Declaration (DUCA) went into force at the beginning of May
Since May 7, 2019, traders in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama have operated under the new DUCA system. The requirement for the development of the DUCA system stems from the Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union. The Single Central American Customs Form (FAUCA) has been replaced by the DUCA-F, the Single Transit Declaration (DUT) has been replaced by the DUCA-T, and the Declaration of Merchandise (DM) has been replaced with the DUCA-F.
For more information, see “Fallas en Sistema de Aduanas Paraliza Tránsito de Mercancías en Centroamérica,” May 9, 2019,, and “Aduanas Seguirán en Contingencia hasta el 17 de Junio,” June 4, 2019,

Central American countries begin process of simplifying DUCA
The Council of Ministers of Economic Integration (COMIECO) of Central America ordered customs in each country to begin simplifying the Central American Single Declaration (DUCA) for road transport of merchandise, or DUCA-T. The simplification of the form and procedure comes amid concerns raised by traders and transporters about the complexity of the form. According to current standards, transporters must pay US$48 to a customs agent to fill out the DUCA-T, which adds a layer of complexity to this procedure.
For more information, see “Centroamérica Inicia la Simplificación de la DUCA,” June 2, 2019,

DUCA contingency plan is extended until June 17
The Secretariat of Economic Integration of Central America (SIECA)  extended the period of the Central American Single Declaration (DUCA) contingency plan. The contingency plan enables traders to declare goods at the border and register declarations through the SIDUNEA World system during periods in which the DUCA system is not functioning properly. SIDUNEA is the Spanish abbreviation for the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA).
For more information, see “Aduanas Seguirán en Contingencia hasta el 17 de Junio,” June 4, 2019,

Belize launched new National Trade Policy in February
It is based on four pillars: strengthening of institutional capacity, enhancement of supply and productive capabilities, increased market access and entry, and trade facilitation. The policy was created by the Directorate General for Foreign Trade with technical assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Belizean government expects that this policy will contribute to a more competitive economy and more inclusive economic growth.
For more information, see “Belize Launches Its First National Trade Policy,” February 26, 2019,

Costa Rica: National Customs Service will use antennas to control entry of cargo containers through its borders
The National Customs Service of Costa Rica will begin to use radio-frequency antennas to control the entry and exit of cargo containers. The system will be complemented with the installation of a radio-frequency device in the windshield of each vehicle, which will allow for the transmission of data to an IT system in the Secretariat of Economic Integration of Central America (SIECA) platform. This device will enable Customs to verify the entry and exit of each transport, along with payment and other administrative requirements.
For more information, see “Aduanas Utilizará Antenas para Controlar Paso de Contenedores en Fronteras,” February 26, 2019,

Costa Rica inaugurated Container Terminal Moín in February
The terminal, located in the Caribbean, is valued at US$1 billion and consists of a space of 40 hectares.
For more information, see “Costa Rica Inaugurará una de las Obras de Infraestructura Más Importantes de la Region,” February 28, 2019,

Costa Rica and South Korea approve new free trade agreement (FTA)
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, the FTA between Costa Rica and South Korea was approved by both countries. As a result, 80 percent of Costa Rican products now may enter South Korea free of duties and 16 percent of the remaining goods will also see reductions in tariffs. Only 4 percent of Costa Rican products still will be subject to tariffs upon their importation to South Korea.
For more information, see “Corea y Costa Rica Aprueban Nuevo TLC,” March 6, 2019,

Costa Rica updated phytosanitary measures in March to prevent Fusarium R4T
The update related only to products that may be at risk of transmitting Fusarium R4T. Products that are subject to phytosanitary measures are plants to be planted, live plants of the Musaceae family, and soil and other means of organic growth. The phytosanitary measure, which will require the quarantine of such products, will only apply to products originating in countries where the plague is present.
For more information, see “Costa Rica Actualiza Medidas Fitosanitarias para Prevenir el Fusarium R4T,” March 7, 2019,

Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, and Guatemala sign AEO mutual recognition agreement
The governments of Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, and Guatemala signed a mutual recognition agreement regarding their authorized economic operator (AEO) programs. Benefits reached through this agreement for AEO-certified companies include expedited inspection procedures, priority in clearance of merchandise, and priority in the handling and mobilization of cargo.
For more information, see “Costa Rica, Panamá, El Salvador y Guatemala Facilitan Comercio Regional,” April 26, 2019,

Costa Rica implements DUCA contingency plan
The Ministry of Economy of Costa Rica announced in May 2019 that due to the technical difficulties caused by the implementation of the Central American Single Declaration (DUCA) in the country, it had issued an instruction outlining the contingency plan that Customs must follow in offices throughout the country.
For more information, see “Costa Rica Aplica Contingencia ante Problemas de Sistema Aduanero Regional,” May 10, 2019,

Costa Rica Postal Service will use X-ray technology to inspect packages
The equipment was donated by the United States embassy and is capable of storing up to 150,000 images. The scanner permits the non-intrusive inspection of packages and is able to detect threats such as drugs and explosives.
For more information, see “Correos de Costa Rica Utilizará Tecnología de Rayos X para la Revisión de Paquetería,” May 22, 2019,

Costa Rica imposes strict restrictions on used clothing imports
The government of Costa Rica has imposed a series of restrictions on the importation of used clothing. Importers of used clothes now must fill out a registration form and register as an “Ordinary Waste Manager,” indicate the number of the sanitary permit, and indicate the name, location, and number of the sanitary permit of the establishment that will be used to wash the used clothes.
For more information, see “Gobierno Impone Fuertes Limitaciones a Importación de Ropa Usada,” June 1, 2019,

El Salvador judicial tribunal suspended cancellation of free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan in March
The judicial tribunal of El Salvador ordered the suspension of the cancellation of the FTA with Taiwan to protect the rights of Salvadorian sugar producers. On December 2018, President Salvador Sánchez Cerén decided to cancel the FTA when the country granted diplomatic recognition to China instead of Taiwan.
For more information, see “Corte de El Salvador Suspende ‘Provisionalmente’ Cancelación TLC con Taiwán,” March 13, 2019,

Ministry of Public Works (MOP) of El Salvador and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) develop El Salvador’s National Plan of Cargo Logistics (2018-2032)
The plan was developed to allow for greater fluidity in the transit of cargo through the country, with initiatives such as infrastructure works, enhancement of border services, establishment of logistics corridors, implementation of a video security system, and structural changes. The National Plan of Cargo Logistics is being financed by the IBD.
For more information, see “MOP y BID Buscan Agilizar Paso de Transporte de Carga en Puntos Fronterizos,” March 24, 2019,

El Salvador Directorate General of Customs (DGA) goes paperless at Romero Airport
El Salvador’s DGA announced in March 2019 that it has implemented a project of “paperless customs” at the cargo terminal of the Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (AIES-MOARG) International Airport. AIES-MOARG receives more import declarations than any other fiscal precinct in the country.
For more information, see “El Salvador: Anuncian ‘Aduana sin Papeles’ en el Aeropuerto Romero,” March 26, 2019,

The National Civil Police of El Salvador will be connected to the National Central INTERPOL office in the country to prevent illicit trade in used vehicles
The General Customs Directorate (DGA) of El Salvador announced that it will create a system to connect the National Civil Police of El Salvador to the National Central Office of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in the country in a bid to detect the illicit trafficking of used vehicles. The system will be able to alert the Salvadorian National Civil Police of any vehicles reported stolen internationally that may transit El Salvador.
For more information, see “Aduanas Contará con Sistema de Interconexión para Detectar Tráfico Ilícito de Carros Usados,” April 10, 2019,

Guatemala: Transport vehicles will be subject to control via electronic trademark
The Guatemala Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) introduced a system of “electronic trademarks” to prevent customs fraud in the transfer of merchandise within the country. Electronic trademarks are devices that physically locate transport units with an already programmed monitoring system. They are reusable with security, location, and satellite tracking mechanisms. The specific rules are detailed in the Journal of Central America.
For more information, see “Marchamo Electrónico: Las Nuevas Reglas de la SAT para Evitar Fraudes en Aduanas,” March 2, 2019,

Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) of Guatemala modifies regulations for customs brokers
Through the SAT-DSI-305-2019 Agreement, SAT announced that the definitive cancellation of a customs broker authorization is the sole responsibility of the head of SAT Institutional Security. Previously, this sanction could only be applied by the chief of SAT based on a petition filed by the head of Institutional Security.
For more information, see “SAT Modifica Reglamento para Gestores Aduaneros,” March 19, 2019,

Cargo containers now may travel directly to the United States from Guatemala
The United States and Guatemala have reached an agreement that allows the Guatemalan Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) to share X-ray information with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This will allow shipments that depart Guatemala to undergo customs clearance in the green channel in the United States, as they have already been analyzed for risk in the country of origin. Once implemented, this initiative will allow for the reduction of processing times at customs ports in the United States.
For more information, see “El Acuerdo Que Permitirá Enviar Contenedores de Manera Directa de Guatemala hacia EE. UU.,” April 1, 2019,

Guatemala: SAT allows certificates of origin to be corrected more than once
SAT issued a resolution in April 2019 that instructs Customs officers in Guatemala to allow certificates of origin to be corrected more than once. Previously, if the certificate was rejected due to any inconsistencies, the product would not qualify for preferential treatment guaranteed under free trade agreements.
For more information, see “Aduanas de Guatemala Deberán Permitir Correcciones en Certificados de Origen,” April 26, 2019,

Exporters in Guatemala now qualify for special regime
The government of Guatemala published Decree 4-2019, which creates a new electronic regime for the return of fiscal credit to exporters. To qualify, exporters must be able to prove that 50 percent or more of their income is destined for exportation, that they are in the regime of Electronic Invoice Online (FEL), and that they are using an electronic system for registering their operations.
For more information, see “Exportadores Pueden Optar a Régimen Especial,” May 1, 2019,

Guatemala and Honduras sign agreement to expedite customs controls at borders through the use of joint customs border posts
The governments of Guatemala and Honduras have signed a resolution that approves modifications to the systems used by quarantine authorities along their borders to facilitate the control and clearance of merchandise.
For more information, see “Triángulo Norte Impulsa las Aduanas Periféricas,” May 6, 2019,

Customs of Honduras simplifies customs procedures
The government of Honduras has implemented the automatization of the customs process titled “Exit Control of Containers, Platforms, and Chassis via Roads,” as well as the elimination of payment per manifest. This was made possible through the integration of four customs procedures: the Single Declaration of Goods for the International Terrestrial Customs Transit (DUT); the Exit Declaration of Goods; Container Number; and Declaration of Exit of Containers, Platforms, and Chassis.
For more information, see “Aduanas Simplifica Procedimiento para el ‘Control de Salida de Contenedores, Plataformas y Chasises’ en Puntos Fronterizos,” March 27, 2019,

Legislation to control trade in firearms, munitions, explosives, and related material goes into effect in Honduras
The Law on Firearms, Munitions, Explosives, and Related Material Control, which recently entered into force, replaces a series of norms that had governed the control of these items. The law regulates the importation, exportation, registration, transit, transport, transfer, distribution, custody, commercialization, intermediation, use, storage, manufacture, illicit manufacture, traffic, illicit traffic, modification, repair, and reloading of these items. In addition, the law establishes a System of Control and Firearms Registry.
For more information, see “Honduras Cuenta con Legislación para Control de Armas de Fuego,” May 8, 2019,

Nicaraguan government imposes charges on air imports and exports
On April 25, the government of Nicaragua began imposing a fee of US$0.25 to each kilogram of goods imported and exported by air.
For more information, see “Gobierno Impone Cobro a Exportaciones e Importaciones Aéreas,” May 7, 2019,

Nicaragua triples tax on beverage imports
The General Directorate of Customs (DGA) of Nicaragua has announced that it will triple the tax imposed on beverage imports. The increase in taxes is expected to drive up consumer prices for these products.
For more information, see “Aduana de Nicaragua Triplica el Cobro de Impuestos a Empresas de Bebidas,” May 10, 2019,

Nicaragua imposes fee for road imports
Circular No. CT/042/2019 imposes a fee of US$50 on all transports entering the country or leaving the national territory for other countries.
For more information, see “Nicaragua Fija Nuevo Cobro para Importaciones Terrestres, Industriales y Transportistas de Centroamérica lo Rechazan,” March 23, 2019,

Panama and Costa Rica create Binational Commission on Border Security
At the II Binational Meeting of Panama and Costa Rica, the countries agreed to create a Binational Commission on Border Security, which will formalize joint operations and allow for the exchange of information in real time. The governments also agreed to modernize customs processes at the border by incorporating technology, infrastructure, and equipment for customs controls under the Customs Logistics Integration Program (PILA), which is being financed by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).
For more information, see “Panamá y Costa Rica Pactan Política Bilateral durante II Encuentro Binacional,” February 20, 2019,

Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama (MICI) launched new mechanism to expedite customs procedures for free zone users
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama announced that it will implement the DMC 32 Law of the Sistema of Integration of Customs Matters (SIGA), which is a customs mechanism that allows users of free zones to save time and expedite the registry process and tracking of merchandise. SIGA can be used to file the Declaration of Commercial Movement (DMC), Certification of Origin, and Determination of Origin electronically.
For more information, see “Implementarán Nuevos Mecanismos de Gestión Aduanera,” February 21, 2019,

Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) launched third phase of Kraken, Safe Summer 2019 operation
It includes the increased presence of security forces at the most important ports, docks, and berths. The goal of the operation is to ensure that all owners or captains of maritime vessels have their navigator’s permits and safety certificates in order.
For more information, see “Autoridad Marítima de Panamá Refuerza Fiscalización y Seguridad de la Vía Marítima,” February 28, 2019,

Panama Canal now member of Global Industry Alliance
The Panama Canal has formally joined the Global Industry Alliance (GIA), an initiative that brings together leaders of the maritime industry who seek to improve energy efficiency and reduce gas house emissions in international maritime transport.
For more information, see “El Canal de Panamá Forma Parte de Global Industry Alliance,” March 18, 2019,

Logistics Corridor of Panama Canal became operational in March
The corridor is a service road that connects the canal to the ports, industrial parks, factories, and distribution centers in about 8.5 minutes. Toll stations for cargo trucks have been set up along the 20 km road. The commute time from Arraiján to Centenario on the Logistics Corridor is 8.5 minutes compared to the Interamerican highway route, which can take up to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
For more information, see “Listo el Corredor Logístico del Canal de Panamá,” March 27, 2019,

Panama approved regulations in March prohibiting import of tobacco products to be used in water pipes
The National Assembly of Panama approved Law No. 136 which prohibits the sale, manufacturing, importation, distribution, and consumption of tobacco in water pipes. Furthermore, the law establishes that persons must have a special license to commercialize tobacco imports in the country.
For more information, see “Asamblea Nacional Aprobó Proyecto de Ley Antitabaco,” March 28, 2019,

Panama and Costa Rica advance development of binational bridge over Sixaloa River
The bridge project is now nearing 36 percent completion. When completed, the bridge will be 260 meters long and contain two lanes for outbound and incoming traffic to and from Costa Rica and Panama.
For more information, see “Panamá y Costa Rica Evalúan Avances de Puente Binacional sobre el Río Sixaola,” April 6, 2019,

Panama launches application with Panama Canal and Colón Free Zone logistics data
The government of Panama has launched an application that provides information on data such as the number of ships that transit the Panama Canal, as well as information on imports to the Colón Free Zone. The application is called “Infologística Panama,” and it was developed by the Center for Innovation and Investigations of Logistics of Georgia Tech in Panama.
For more information, see “Panamá Lanza ‘App’ Logística con Datos del Canal y de Principal Zona Franca,” April 24, 2019,

National Customs Authority of Panama (ANA) improves radiation detection equipment
ANA of Panama announced that it had upgraded the radiation detection equipment of the mobile laboratory from a secondary unit to a primary unit, with the assistance of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy. Once implementation is complete, Customs personnel at the Port of Balboa will be able to use the equipment to detect dangerous cargo.
For more information, see “Panamá Afianza el Equipo de Detección Radiactiva para Mejorar la Seguridad del Canal,” May 29, 2019,

North America

Mexico adds ovine, caprine, and buffaline species to phytosanitary protocol for dairy products from the United States
The General Directorate of Animal Health (DGSA) of Mexico now allows the use for animal consumption of ovine, caprine, and buffaline milk and dairy products originating in the United States. As a result, the Zoosanitary Requirements Sheet 005-14-987-USA-USA has been replaced by 098-14-987-USA-USA.
For more information, see “Permiso Previo de Importación de Hidrocarburos o Petrolíferos,” February 25, 2019,

Mexico: Previous permits for imports of oil and gas subject to new requirements
In addition to fulfilling the obligations imposed in Annex III of the Agreement Establishing the Classification and Codification of Hydrocarbons and Petroleum Subject to a Prior Permit by the Secretariat of Energy, importers and exporters of oil and gas must identify the transport vehicles for the products to be imported. In the case of oil, they must attach the contract with an accredited laboratory or provided by an accredited foreign laboratory.
For more information, see “Permiso Previo de Importación de Hidrocarburos o Petrolíferos,” February 25, 2019,

General Customs Administration (AGA) set to eliminate fiscal stoplights in Mexico
The AGA announced in March 2019 that it will eliminate the use of fiscal stoplights in all 49 customs offices in the country. The head of AGA announced that within six months, the AGA would be equipped to “revise everything.” Once the fiscal stoplights are eliminated, all merchandise reportedly will be inspected in a non-intrusive manner.
For more information, see “AGA Eliminará Semáforos Fiscales en Aduanas de México: Peralta,” March 8, 2019,

Mexico signs agreement with New Zealand to strengthen exports
The Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) of Mexico and the Ministry of Commerce and Export Promotion of New Zealand signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation on and exchange of agricultural products between the countries. According to the agreement, New Zealand will assist Mexico with developing better genetic management of ovine and bovine species, milk, and meats through the exchange of scientific information.
For more information, see “México Firma Convenio con Nueva Zelanda para Fortalecer Exportaciones,” March 10, 2019,

Mexico: Rail cargo manifest transmission now required at Nuevo Laredo customs office
The customs office of Nuevo Laredo began receiving transmissions of rail cargo manifests on April 29, 2019. Rail companies, customs agents and brokers, as well as legal representatives must transmit this document through the Mexican Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCEM).
For more information, see “Implementación del Manifiesto de Carga Ferroviario en la Aduana de Nuevo Laredo,” March 11, 2019,

Mexico: Digital acknowledgement receipts are now available through Mexican Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCEM)
On March 6, 2019, the Mexican government made available digital acknowledgement receipts related to the obligation of importers, exports, and customs agents to create an electronic file of each of their pedimentos and annexes, along with their electronic acknowledgements.
For more information, see “Implementación del Manifiesto de Carga Ferroviario en la Aduana de Nuevo Laredo,” March 11, 2019,

Mexico: Air transport companies, international cargo agents, and shipping companies must fulfill requirements before being able to transmit information to VUCEM
In order to transmit information electronically to the Mexican Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCEM), air transport companies, international cargo agents, and shipping companies now must fulfill the requirements listed in Informative Page #9.
For more information, see “Implementación del Manifiesto de Carga Ferroviario en la Aduana de Nuevo Laredo,” March 11, 2019,

Mexican government extends regulations on definitive imports of used cars
The government of Manuel Lopez Obrador has extended the date on which the ban on the definitive importation of used cars will go into effect from March 31, 2019, to December 31, 2019. Currently, used cars may be imported from Canada and the United States as long as the importer is willing to pay 1 percent of its value plus 16 percent of VAT. However, there are many imported used cars in Mexico that have not been regularized or nationalized.
For more information, see “Gobierno Mexicano Quiere Regular las Importaciones Definitivas de Autos Usados y Pone Fecha Límite,” March 13, 2019,

Mexico Customs and Texas reorganize joint customs clearance
The General Customs Administration (AGA) of Mexico and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they will seek to expedite international trade through the creation of a joint customs clearance post in the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. Tamaulipas is home to Nuevo Laredo, one of the busiest border crossing points on the Mexico-United States border.
For more information, see “Aduana de México Reorganiza Despacho Conjunto con Texas,” March 14, 2019,

Mexico establishes new content rules for automotive trade with Brazil and Argentina
On March 19, Mexico and Brazil began to trade light cars (sub-compact vehicles) containing 40 percent of regional content free of tariffs after the quota for the exportation of the vehicles expired. In contrast, trade in sub-compact cars with Argentina will remain under a strict quota system for three more years. This quota will have an annual increase of 10 percent for the first year, 5 percent for the second year, and 5 percent for the third year, after which the quotas will end and the cars will be traded freely according to the terms of the Economic Complementation Agreement (ACE) 6 between Mexico and Argentina.
For more information, see “México Seguirá con el Libre Comercio de Autos Ligeros con Brasil y de Cupos de 10 a 5% con Argentina,” March 19, 2019,

Mexico: General Customs Administration (AGA) and General Coordination of Ports and Merchant Marine of Mexico (CGPMM) reach historic agreement to transform port customs system
The entities agreed to work together to implement the Program of Transformation of Port Customs in Mexico. The program is set to expedite port customs operations and decrease the time it takes to unload cargo. At the same time, it reportedly will guarantee safety in all port operations by modernizing technology systems, incentivizing the use of strategic trade zones, and increasing the operating hours for customs offices in ports across the country. The evaluation of the program and its implementation will begin at the Port of Manzanillo.
For more information, see “Transformación de Aduanas Portuarias Impulsará el Comercio Exterior Mexicano,” March 22, 2019,

Mexico militarized public safety duties and created National Guard in March
The government of Mexico made a constitutional reform in March 2019 that created the Mexican National Guard as a corporation to ensure public safety on the blue and green borders and at customs posts, fiscal precincts, railroads, airports, and maritime ports. The National Guard will assume some of the same responsibilities assigned to the Federal Police, Military, and Navy.
For more information, see “La Guardia Nacional ya Operará en Aeropuertos, Aduanas y Carreteras,” March 27, 2019,

Mexico temporarily banned imports of poultry from certain parts of Colombia in April
Mexico banned the importation of poultry originating in Caquetá, Casanare, Cundinamarca, Tolima, and Vaupés due to an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease.
For more information, see “Restricciones a la Importación de Huevo Originario y Procedente de Colombia,” April 2, 2019,

Mexico SAT will enforce rules on imports and exports of alcoholic beverages
Mexico’s Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) signed an agreement with the Commission for the Wine and Liquor Industry (CIVyL) and the National Chamber for the Tequila Industry (CNIT) to combat the importation, exportation, and commercialization of illegal alcohol beverages.
For more information, see “SAT Reforzará Fiscalización de Importartación y Exportación de Bebidas Alcohólicas,” April 2, 2019,

Mexico looks to launch National Merchant Marine in 2020
The Coordinator of Ports and Merchant Marine of Mexico of the Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT/CGPMM) announced in April that the CGPMM is working to form a Merchant Marine that will be launched in the Port of Manzanillo. The creation of a Merchant Marine is expected to decrease the cost of shipping products abroad by sea and of trading in general with countries other than the United States.
For more information, see “México: Buscan Conformar Marina Mercante Nacional en 2020,” April 3, 2019,

Mexico and Israel sign mutual recognition agreement for AEO programs
In April, the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT) of Mexico and the Tax Authority of the State of Israel signed a mutual recognition agreement for their respective authorized economic operator (AEO) programs.
For more information, see “México e Israel Firman Acuerdo para Fortalecer Comercio Internacional,” April 4, 2019,

Mexico updated General Foreign Trade Rules for 2018 in April
In April 2019, the government of Mexico announced the fifth modification of the General Foreign Trade Rules for 2018. Significant elements include additional reasons for suspension from the sectoral importer registry, additional requirements for customs agents, updated foreign trade procedures, customs office operating hours, customs offices authorized to conduct the clearance of certain items, and additional tariff codes for which VAT payment is required.
For more information, see “Quinta Resolución de Modificaciones a las RGCE para 2018, y Sus Anexos 1-A, 4, 21, 22 y 27,” April 8, 2019,

Mexico and Hungary strengthen economic relationship through trade
During a state visit to Mexico, the Minister of Foreign Relations of Hungary held a meeting with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico in which they agreed to increase commercial exchanges and investments between Mexico and the European Union. They also signed memoranda of understanding on subjects such as aquaculture and cooperation between state-owned banks.
For more information, see “México y Hungría Fortalecen Lazos Económicos y Culturales,” April 10, 2019,

Mexico imposed tariffs on shoes, textiles, and fashion imports in April
In April, the government of Mexico imposed tariffs of 10 to 30 percent on imports of shoes, textiles, and fashion items that will be applied gradually. The action reportedly is a response to the undervaluation of imports of these products, especially in the border region. The tariffs include a tax of 10 to 30 percent on 85 tariff codes for shoes, 20 to 30 percent on 15 tariff codes for sandals and children’s shoes, and 25 to 30 percent on 29 tariff codes for tennis shoes.
For more information, see “México Impone Aranceles a Importaciones de Calzado, Textil y Confección,” April 10, 2019,

National Customs Strategy announced in Veracruz, Mexico
In April, the governor of the state of Veracruz and the head of the General Customs Administration announced the creation of a Technical Roundtable for the National Customs Strategy of the Gulf of Mexico. The work that the roundtable conducts will center on Veracruz Customs, and it will include legislative projects in customs matters.
For more information, see “Estrategia Nacional Aduanera del Golfo de México Arranca en Veracruz,” April 23, 2019,

Mexico-India Business Chamber created in May
The Secretary of Economy of Mexico announced the creation of the Mexico-India Business Chamber in May 2019. The chamber is expected to expedite and increase bilateral commerce between the countries.
For more information, see “Nace la Cámara de Comercio India-México,” May 2, 2019,

Mexico and China sign agreement on the export of Mexican bananas
Mexico and China signed a phytosanitary agreement in May that will allow the export of Mexican bananas to China. Those interested in exporting bananas from Mexico to China will have to register their units of production to be eligible and apply phytosanitary measures established in the agreement which will be inspected by the National Service for Health, Food Safety, and Agri-Food Quality (SENASICA).
For more information, see “México y China Firman Acuerdo para Exportar Plátano,” May 13, 2019,

New access road links San Ysidro to Tijuana
The United States recently opened the first 4 of 10 lanes that will form part of a new access road to Mexico from San Ysidro to Tijuana. Each of the lanes is equipped with an inspection booth designed to be used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
For more information, see “Estados Unidos Abre Nuevo Ingreso Hacia Tijuana por San Ysidro,” May 14, 2019,

Mexico eliminated retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products
Following an agreement between Mexico, Canada, and the United States that saw the lifting of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada, Mexico announced in May that it will lift retaliatory tariffs it had imposed on imports of U.S. pork, apples, blueberries, cheese, potatoes, and whiskey. The Mexican tariffs on U.S. imports ranged from 15 to 25 percent, adding up to US$3 million worth of traded goods.
For more information, see “México Elimina Aranceles Impuestos a EU tras Acuerdo en Importaciones de Acero y Aluminio,” May 20, 2019,

South America

Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and Chile reach economic complementation agreement
The economic complementation agreement calls for the creation of an open market between Mercosur member states and Chile, as well as the addition of more gendered perspectives to foreign trade, including equal rights, treatment, and opportunities for men and women. The agreement also calls for multilateral cooperation on customs compliance.
For more information, see “Aprobaron un Acuerdo Económico entre el Mercosur y Chile,” January 10, 2019,

Southern Common Market (Mercosur) modifies food labeling regulations
The members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) released Common Market Group Resolution 40/105, which modifies the requirements for labeling food products. The modifications include the application of regulations for packaging and packing equipment consisting of layers of the same material or different materials and packaging and packing equipment containing cellulose fibers from recycled material. The regulations will no longer apply to secondary containers made out of paper, cardboard, and carton, as well as materials, packaging, and cellulose packing equipment intended to be in contact with food that must be peeled for consumption.
For more information, see “Modifican el Reglamento de los Envases de Alimentos para el Mercosur,” January 17, 2019,

Port of Buenos Aires to be modernized
The government of Argentina has announced its plans to modernize the Port of Buenos Aires. The modernization plan includes are the development of an external terminal and the building of a single port access point. The modernization of the port is expected to increase its capacity to 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
For more information, see “Port of Buenos Aires Announces Modernization Plan,” December 17, 2018,

Argentina bans halogen lamp imports
In accordance with Law 27,492, the Argentinean government has banned the importation and commercialization of halogen lamps starting in 2020.
For more information, see “Prohíben la Importación y Venta de Lámparas Halógenas a Partir de 2020,” January 8, 2019,–de-lamparas-halogenas-a-partir-de-2020-20190108-0008.html.

Argentina establishes quotas for meat and dairy exports to Venezuela and Colombia
The government of Argentina has set a quota for exports of dairy and dairy products to Venezuela at a maximum of 9,495 metric tons. In addition, the government has increased the quota for exports of Argentinean beef to Colombia from 875 to 1,323.5 tons and dairy products to Colombia to 2,268 metric tons. Dairy products regulated by the quota are milk powder, granules, and other forms, milk, and milk cream.
For more information, see “Argentina Regula Cupos para Exportar Carne y Lácteos a Venezuela,” December 28, 2018,

Argentina simplifies digital procedure for poultry exports
The National Service of Agricultural Food Health and Quality of Argentina (SENASA) announced that procedures related to the exportation of poultry now can be conducted electronically through the Certification Management System (SIGCER). The electronic procedure will simplify the processing time for certifications, lower the number of errors in the certificates granted, and allow for the potential integration of these documents with the foreign trade platforms of the export destination countries.
For more information, see “Argentina: Certificación Electrónica Agiliza la Exportación de Carne de Ave,” January 3, 2019,

Argentina and Chile sign free trade agreement (FTA)
At the end of 2018, Chile and Argentina signed a bilateral FTA. In January, the Chilean Senate approved the agreement. The agreement still must be signed into law by president Mauricio Macri of Argentina and Sebastian Piñera of Chile before it can enter into force. The FTA will lead to the facilitation of trade by the simplification of customs procedures. In addition, the service, e-commerce, and sustainable economy industries will see new opportunities. According to the agreement, the countries also will begin collaborating in matters of cybersecurity.
For more information, see “Argentina y Chile Ponen en Marcha un Ambicioso Acuerdo de Libre Comercio,” January 14, 2019,

Argentina imposes duties on service exports
In accordance with General Resolution (RG) 4400 and RG 4401, the government of Argentina has imposed a tax on the export of services. The tax rate to be charged by the government is 12 percent, not to exceed US$4 for each dollar of the taxable value. Small companies that have an invoice of less than US$600,000 are exempt from this tax, and companies that have an invoice of more than US$600,000 will be charged for the surplus exceeding that amount.
For more information, see “Comienzan a Regir los Derechos de Exportación a la Prestación de Servicios,” January 23, 2019,

Argentinean government adds Customs to its Foreign Trade Single Window (VUCE)
The government of Argentina recently launched its Foreign Trade Single Window (VUCE), a platform that companies can use to process all procedures related to foreign trade. More recently, the government announced that it will add Customs to this online platform. Exporting companies will able to conduct all procedures electronically, including the payment of duties on exports and imports.
For more information, see “Sumarán a la Aduana a la Ventanilla Única de Comercio Exterior,” January 25, 2019,

Argentina will start exporting new products to India
At the beginning of February 2019, the governments of Argentina and India signed two cooperation agreements on trade and technology. As a result, Argentina now will be able to export fresh eggs, limes, chia seeds, fish meal, and bone meal to India, and India will be able to export millet seeds to Argentina.
For more information, see “Nuevos Acuerdos: Argentina Venderá Huevos, Limones, Semillas y Harinas a la India,” February 2, 2019,

Argentina can export yerba mate to India and Dubai
As of the end of February 2019, yerba mate producers in Argentina can export their products to India and Dubai. In order to commercialize the products in these new markets, the National Yerba Mate Institute (INYM) of Argentina announced that it will promote the benefits of the product during rounds of negotiation in Dubai, New Delhi, and Mumbai.
For more information, see “La Yerba Mate Argentina Llegará a Dubai y la India,” February 17, 2019,

Bolivia will begin exporting soy to China
The government of Bolivia signed a phytosanitary protocol with the government of China that will allow Bolivian producers of soy to export their products to China.
For more information, see “Bolivia Firma Protocolo para Exportar Soya a China,” December 20, 2018,

Bolivian Customs opens offices in Desaguadero bridge
The National Customs of Bolivia has installed an office in the Desaguadero bridge on the border with Peru. The procedures that can be initiated at the office include total and partial export procedures, transits to Cobija and third countries, and entry and exit of trucks and tourist vehicles.
For more information, see “Aduana Instala Estructura en Puente de Desaguadero,” December 28, 2019,

National Customs of Bolivia adopts digital signature
This initiative will allow actors engaged in foreign trade that must undergo customs procedures to provide their signature digitally. This type of signature will help reduce the time it takes to export products from Bolivia from seven to two days.
For more information, see “La Firma Digital Simplifica las Exportaciones,” January 6, 2019,

Bolivia and Uruguay sign preferential agreement in two ports
Representatives of the port services of Bolivia and Uruguay signed a preferential operating agreement to grant preferential treatment to Bolivian cargo in the Uruguayan ports of Montevideo and Nueva Palmira. The aim of the agreement is to increase the movement of cargo through the fluvial route created by the Paraguay-Parana river. The preferential agreement will grant Bolivia access to the Atlantic Ocean.
For more information, see “Bolivia y Uruguay Firman Acuerdo Preferencial en Dos Puertos de Paraguay,” January 24, 2019,

Bolivia launches Port Control Unit
With the opening of Bolivia’s Port Control Unit (PCU) in the Tambo Quemado port on the border with Chile, it has joined the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC)/World Customs Organization (WCO) Global Container Control Program. Bolivia’s PCU has received X-ray equipment, distance meters, and videoscopes to intercept cocaine, marijuana, synthetic drugs, and precursors.
For more information, see “Mecanismos Internacionales Fortalecen Lucha Antinarcóticos en Bolivia,” February 20, 2019,

Brazil updates Brazilian Nomenclature of Services
The Brazil Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade, and Services (MDIC) and Federal Revenue Office (RFB) published an update to the Brazilian Nomenclature of Services, Intangibles, and Other Operations that Produce Changes in Equity, as well as their Explanatory Notes (NEBS). This will harmonize the Brazilian nomenclature with the United Nations Central Product Classification, leading to enhanced compliance with international classifications and better exchange of information between Brazil and other countries.
For more information, see “Government Updates Annexes of the New Version of the Brazilian Nomenclature of Services,” December 20, 2018,

Brazil and Paraguay to build two bridges
President Michel Temer of Brazil and Paraguayan president Mari Abdo Benitez signed an agreement in late December 2018 to construct two bridges linking the countries. The bridges will connect Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil with Puerto Presidente Franco in Paraguay and the city of Porto Murtinho in Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil with Carmelo Peralta in Paraguay.
For more information, see “Second Bridge Brazil-Paraguay: Temer and Marito Sign Statement in Foz,” December 21, 2018,

Brazil announces new National Policy on Export and Import of Defense Products (PNEI-PRODE)
The government of Brazil published Decree No. 9,607 of 2018, which establishes the National Policy on Export and Import of Defense Products (PNEI-PRODE), replacing the National Policy on the Exportation of Military Employment Material (PNEMEM). This policy will control the importation and exportation of military items, regulating procedures such as preliminary requests, administrative treatment, and export and import requirements. The new policy tasks the Ministry of Defense with reviewing and updating a list of defense products and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with authorizing export negotiation requests and promoting Brazilian defense products. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also tasked with forwarding prior notifications to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) when requested. The policy also creates a technical group, Time Brazil Defesa, in charge of coordinating and monitoring the negotiations of the sale of military items with potential buyers.
For more information, see “National Policy on the Export and Import of Defense Products,” December 25, 2018,

Ministry of Transport, Ports, and Civil Aviation of Brazil changes names
Provisional Measure (MP) 870 changes the name of the Brazilian Ministry of Transport, Ports, and Aviation to the Ministry of Infrastructure.
For more information, see “Brasil: Ministerio de Transportes, Puertos y Aviación Pasa a Ser el Ministerio de Infraestructura,” January 2, 2019,

Brazil exempts certain auto parts imports from duties
The government of Brazil has announced the exemption of certain auto parts imports from duties beginning January 1, 2019. The list of parts exempted from duties can be found in CAMEX Resolution No. 102 of December 27, 2018.
For more information, see “News Siscomex Import nº 001/2019,” January 4, 2019,

Chile and Brazil agree to bi-oceanic corridor
The presidents of Chile and Brazil agreed to plan and begin construction of a bi-oceanic corridor that will connect the coastal regions of the countries. This bi-oceanic corridor will start at the Murthino port in Brazil and travel through Paraguay and northern Argentina before reaching three ports in the northern region of Chile: Antofagasta, Iquique, and Arica.
For more information, see “Chile y Brasil Confirman Acuerdo para Corredor Bioceánico sin Bolivia,” January 5, 2019,

Brazil will begin exporting bovine and buffalo materials
The Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) has announced that it will begin exporting bovine and buffalo embryos in vivo and in vitro, as well as semen, to Suriname.
For more information, see “Brazil to Export Bovine and Buffalo Genetic Material to Suriname,” January 15, 2019,

Brazil Integrated Foreign Trade System (SISCOMEX) Portal will allow for consolidation of more than one DU-E/RUC
The government of Brazil announced in January 2019 that it will begin allowing the consolidation of multiple Single Export Declarations/Unified References for Cargo (DU-Es/RUCs) for an export operation.
For more information, see “News Siscomex Export nº 008/2019,” January 22, 2019,

Brazil adds more functions to Integrated Foreign Trade System (SISCOMEX) Portal
Beginning January 28, 2019, the Brazilian government has added extra functions to the SISCOMEX Portal export modules. These include the ability to save drafts of the Single Export Declaration (DU-E); the registration of DU-Es without a Nota Fiscal (NF) for temporary export processing; and the consultation on the DU-E “General Information” tab of cargo data, national and international transit data, and manifest cargo knowledge.
For more information, see “News Siscomex Export nº 007/2019,” January 22, 2019,

Chile will convert northern region into logistics platform to accommodate bi-oceanic corridor project
President Sebastian Piñera of Chile announced his intention to transform Chile into a platform for services and the gateway of Latin America to the Asia-Pacific region. Correspondingly, he announced the launch of an initiative to deepen Chile’s ports in the northern region.
For more information, see “Chile Impulsa Plataforma Logística Aprovechando Proyecto Bioceánico,” January 11, 2019,

Chile Chamber of Deputies approves customs modernization
The Chamber of Deputies of Chile has approved a draft law that will lead to the restructuring of the National Customs Service installations and administration in order to make them better equipped to fulfill the service’s responsibilities. The draft law calls for the Treasury to issue the necessary standards to establish customs service personnel plants and rules and regulations to ensure their proper structuring and operation.
For more information, see “Diputados Aprueban Proyecto que Moderniza el Servicio Nacional de Aduanas en Chile,” January 18, 2019,

Chile announces initiative to enhance digital logistics infrastructure
The Subsecretary of Transport of Chile has announced an initiative to increase efficiency in Chile’s trade logistics. One project is the development of a Maritime Single Window (VUMAR), which will allow those engaged in trade logistics to access information on and begin the processes of pre-arrival, arrival, permanence, and departure of ships. The initiative will lead to a reduction in the number of documents required to request these procedures and an increase in efficiency.
For more information, see “Chile Avanza en la Transformación Digital Logística, Marítima y Terrestre,” January 25, 2019,

Chile signs trade continuity agreement with the United Kingdom
The agreement will allow for the continuation of import and export processes in the event of a British exit from the European Union (EU) without remaining in the EU Customs Union. The agreement replicates the rules, regulations, and procedures from Chile’s trade agreement with the EU. It also contains some upgrades, including a modification of the agricultural products clause that calls for a bilateral evaluation to be made on tariff liberalization every two years.
For more information, see “Chile se Adelanta y Firma Nuevo Acuerdo Comercial con el Reino Unido,” January 29, 2019,

Chile simplifies procedures on imports for use in emergencies
The simplified procedure will apply to items used to combat fires, search and rescue canines, food, medicines, goods necessary for the subsistence of victims, and materials for reconstruction. The National Forest Corporation and Fire Department will now be able to import these goods through a special Declaration for Temporary Admission for Emergencies (DATSE).
For more information, see “Aduanas de Chile Simplifica Ingreso de Importaciones en Caso de Emergencias,” January 30, 2019,

Chile-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) modernization enters into force
At the beginning of February, the Chile-Canada FTA modernization entered into force. The modernization includes new rules and regulations concerning sanitary and phytosanitary controls; technical trade barriers; and modifications to the chapters on “Public Purchases and Investments” and “Trade and Gender.”
For more information, see “Entró en Vigencia Modernización del TLC entre Chile y Canadá,” February 4, 2019,

Colombian National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) establishes electronic billing
Starting January 1, 2019, DIAN has required all taxpayers to use electronic billing. Additional technical requirements for importers and exporters will be released later in the year.
For more information, see “Comienza en Firme la Facturación Electrónica en Colombia,” January 2, 2019,

Colombia will create two manufacturing districts for fashion exports
The government of Colombia has announced the creation of two districts in Antioquia for textile and fashion manufacturing with an intent to jumpstart textile and fashion exports. The National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) will have an important presence in the area.
For more information, see “Colombia Creará Dos Nuevos Distritos que Impulsarán Exportaciones de Moda,” January 10, 2019,

Colombian airline starts new cargo route from Bogotá to Latacunga
Aerolinea del Caribe S.A., Aercaribe, started a new route from Bogotá to Latacunga. The maximum cargo weight to be carried by the airline in this new route is 20 tons.
For more information, see “Aerolínea Colombiana Inició Operaciones en la Ruta Bogotá-Latacunga-Bogotá,” January 16, 2019,

Colombia increases duties on steel imports
The government of Colombia has announced that it will institute an import duty of 8.5 percent, in addition to the 10 percent that it currently charges, on imports of steel. Once instituted, this import duty will last for two years.
For more information, see “Colombia Frenará Excesivo Ingreso de Barras de Acero,” February 3, 2019,

Colombia will begin exporting golden pineapple to Peru
After six months of negotiations, the governments of Colombia and Peru announced that they have reached an agreement that will allow for Colombian-produced golden pineapple to enter the Peruvian market. The agreement was reached by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and the National Service of Agrarian Health (SENASA) of Peru.
For more information, see “Colombia Exportará Piña Variedad Oro Miel a Perú,” February 15, 2019,

Ecuador reduces tariffs on certain products from the European Union (EU)
According to the terms of the Ecuador-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), each year Ecuador will reduce tariffs on certain products originating in the EU. On January 1, 2019, tariffs were reduced on imports of European vehicles, sunglasses, medicines, dairy, perfumes, and detergents.
For more information, see “Nueva Reducción de Aranceles para Los Bienes de la Unión Europea,” January 1, 2019,

Two hundred fifty-two products will see facilitated entry to Ecuador
The Ecuadorian Service for Normalization (INEN) announced that 252 tariff entries will be removed from the control of the Ecuadorian Single Window (VUE), thus facilitating their entry into the country. Removal from VUE means that importers will not be held rigorously to the requirements of 50 different technical regulations. Products subject to the expedited import process include cosmetics, hygiene and cleaning products, plastics and their byproducts, chemicals, and toys.
For more information, see “La Importación de 252 Bienes se Facilita,” January 3, 2019,

Ecuador creates digital system to approve duty exemptions for disability-enabled vehicle imports
The National Customs Service of Ecuador has announced the digitization of an existing exemption from duties on disability-enabled vehicles imports. The exemption process will now be conducted through a digital system that will reduce the approval time from 3 months to 48 hours.
For more information, see “Aduana Reduce Trámite para Comprar Vehículos Exonerados por Discapacidad,” February 15, 2019,

Paraguay eliminates import licenses for e-commerce products
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay has eliminated the requirement for a previous license for the import of products under US$100 bought by consumers on the Internet. Products costing US$100 to US$1,000 will pay 13 percent more in import taxes.
For more information, see “Paraguay Suprime Licencia de Importación a Productos de Comercio Electrónico,” January 8, 2019,

National Directorate of Customs (DNA) of Paraguay will expedite imports of used cars and machinery
The Paraguayan DNA has announced a series of measures aimed at expediting imports of used cars and machinery. These include allowing individuals to make payments abroad via the National Development Bank (BNF), harmonizing the criteria used to determine value for invoices, updating prices in consideration of depreciation, and eliminating automotive sales in ports.
For more information, see “Buscan Agilizar Tramites para Importación de Autos Usados,” January 9, 2019,

Paraguay joins Global Trade Help Desk of the World Customs Organization (WCO)
The national government signed an agreement with the International Trade Center (CCI) in January 2019 to participate in the pilot project of the Global Trade Help Desk, a digital platform that aims to gather all information for international trade. The platform will contain information on the requirements of each international market, such as tariffs, customs controls, rules of origin, and export and import procedures.
For more information, see “Paraguay Se Une a Plataforma de la OMC para Facilitar Comercio Internacional,” January 28, 2019,

Paraguay implements software to administer cargo in fluvial ports
The National Administration of Navigation and Ports of Paraguay (ANNP) has installed software called “Sofia” that will allow for greater tax collection in its fluvial ports. This new system is expected to guarantee 100 percent collection of duties on cargo transiting these ports.
For more information, see “Paraguay Incorpora Software para Gestión de Carga de Sus Puertos Fluviales,” February 5, 2019,

The National Directorate of Customs (DNA) of Paraguay will enhance its presence in the Chaco Central border area with Bolivia
Discussions are underway concerning the construction of a bi-oceanic corridor between Chile and Brazil that would pass through the Chaco Central area of Paraguay. As a result, the DNA of Paraguay has announced its intention to build customs facilities in the port terminals of Infante Rivarola, Pozo Colorado, and Carmelo Peralta. In addition, the DNA announced new infrastructure projects to support Paraguay’s role in the logistics chain that would be created by the bi-oceanic corridor, such as an international bridge connecting it to Brazil.
For more information, see “Aduanas y Puertos Se Instalarán en Zona Fronteriza con Bolivia,” February 6, 2019,

Paraguay will begin controlling cargo from China through new platform
The National Directorate of Customs of Paraguay (DNA) announced that it will launch a platform through the Integrated System of Cargo Verification (SIVECA) that will allow the government to control cargo from China and Hong Kong with the aim of preventing tax evasion. According to the DNA, it will now have details on each container leaving China and Hong Kong destined for Paraguay.
For more information, see “Aduanas Usará Nuevo Sistema para Control de Cargas Chinas,” February 22, 2019,

Peru opens new Central Customs Laboratory
The new laboratory located near the Port of Callao, Peru’s busiest port, is one of the most advanced in Latin America and contains new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), X-ray fluorescence, and other equipment.
For more information, see “Peru Inaugurated Its New Central Customs Laboratory,” December 18, 2018,

Peruvian government adds new infractions and penalties to the General Customs Law
The Peru Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) announced a decree that adds new infractions and sanctions to the General Customs Law. Owners and consignees or consignors of merchandise will be found to have committed an infraction when they do not use the correct means of payment in the international sale of merchandise imported for consumption. This infraction will be awarded a penalty of 30 percent of the declared value of the merchandise. In addition, the decree will penalize actors that conduct foreign trade transactions and do not have the title of foreign trade operators with a penalty of S/.4,200 (~US$1,350) in 2019.
For more information, see “MEF Incorpora Nuevas Infracciones y Sanciones a Ley General de Aduanas,” December 30, 2018,

Peru grants discretionary powers to customs in determining punishments for two violations in the General Customs Law
The National Superintendence of Tax Administration and Customs (SUNAT) of Peru issued Resolution No. 003-2019, which gives Customs the power to impose a lesser punishment for two violations in the General Customs Law. The violations are failing to provide security measures mandated by Customs for foreign trade operators and failing to provide security measures for port, airport, and land terminal administrator or concessionaries.
For more information, see “Sunat No Sancionará Infracciones de Aduanas Bajo Ciertas Condiciones,” January 10, 2019,

Peru wins geographical indication (GI) tag for pisco in India
India has awarded Peru with a GI tag for its pisco liquor. Pisco is a liquor distilled from grapes common to both Peru and Chile. However, the geographical origin of the liquor has been contended by both Peruvian and Chilean pisco producers. India is the latest addition to the list of 70 countries that recognize pisco as originating in Peru.
For more information, see “Chile Ya No Podrá Usar la Denominación de Origen Pisco en la India,” January 11, 2019,

Peru approves exemption of payment of fees for the reception and clearance of small ships
The Peruvian government approved the exemption from fees for the reception and clearance of river and lake ships with a gross tonnage of less than 500 AB. The exemption will last three years and is aimed to promote economic development in fluvial and lake ports.
For more information, see “Perú Aprobó Exoneración en el Cobro para Tramitar Recepción y Despacho de Naves Menores,” January 21, 2019,

Peru will build train connecting Callao to San Martin de Pisco
The Ministry of Transport of Peru announced plans to build a passenger and cargo train connecting the Port of Callao with the Port of San Martin de Pisco. The train is expected to alleviate traffic congestion on the Panamericana Sur highway and reduce the time it takes for cargo to travel from Callao to San Martin de Pisco by four hours.
For more information, see “Tren Lima – Ica Se Interconectará con Puertos de Callao y San Martín de Pisco,” February 2, 2019,

Peru opens market for Ecuadorian dairy
The Peru National Service of Agrarian Health (SENASA) has approved a phytosanitary protocol request from the Agency of Regulation and Phytosanitary Control of Ecuador to open the Peruvian dairy market to products from Ecuador.
For more information, see “Perú Abre Mercado a Productos Lácteos de Ecuador,” February 5, 2019,

Peru launches Electronic Certification of Origin to Mexico
Due to Peru’s participation in the Pacific Alliance (AP), Peruvian exporters now will be able to use an Electronic Certification of Origin in order to export their goods to other members of the AP. The Electronic Certification of Origin to Mexico already has been activated through the Foreign Trade Single Window (VUCE). This electronic certification will also be activated for Colombia and Chile in the near future.
For more information, see “Peru Will Be Able to Export More Easily to Mexico,” February 15, 2019,

Peru simplifies procedure for import of processed animal food items
The government of Peru announced the simplification of the Official Sanitary Export Certificate (CSOE), which is necessary for importing processed animal food items from other countries.
For more information, see “Simplifican Importación de Alimentos Industrializados de Origen Animal,” February 17, 2019,

Uruguayan beef producers are unable to export cow tongue or jaw to China
Due to an update in its phytosanitary protocol with China, Uruguayan producers are now unable to export cow tongue or jaw to China. The Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries (MGAP) has announced that it will not grant phytosanitary certificates to exporters of those products.
For more information, see “Protocolo Sanitario con China Deja Afuera la Exportación de Lengua y Quijada,” December 26, 2019,

Uruguay National Directorate of Customs (DNA) and Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries (MGAP) sign technical cooperation agreement
The agreement will strengthen the agencies’ relationship and allow for more effective use of existing technologies at border crossing points (BCPs). MGAP performs zoological sanitary and phytosanitary inspections at Uruguay’s BCPs and has 10 scanners at different points of entry and exit in the country. The DNA conducts video surveillance.
For more information, see “DNA y MGAP Firmaron Convenio de Cooperación Técnica,” January 17, 2019,

Uruguay bans imports of certain lamps and other products containing mercury
The regulation applies to compact fluorescent lamps, linear fluorescent lamps (fluorescent tubes), high pressure mercury vapor lamps, cold cathode fluorescent lamps, external electrode fluorescent lamps, high discharge lamps, thermometers, and sphygmomanometers. The ban began on December 31, 2019.
For more information, see “Gobierno Aplicará Reglamento para Controlar Uso y Disposición Final de Lámparas y Otros Residuos con Mercurio,” January 18, 2019,

Uruguay and Bolivia sign agreement to facilitate cargo trade through Montevideo and Nueva Palmira ports
The governments of Bolivia and Uruguay signed an agreement that will allow Bolivian cargo to transit Uruguay on the fluvial route of the Parana-Paraguay rivers and exit to the Atlantic Ocean through the ports of Montevideo and Nueva Palmira in Uruguay.
For more information, see “Acuerdo de Uruguay con Bolivia Facilitará Movimiento de Carga de Ese País por Montevideo y Nueva Palmira,” January 29, 2019,

Uruguayan National Directorate of Customs (DNA) adds definitive export regime to its Foreign Trade Single Window (VUCE)
The announcement was made under General Resolution No. 10/2019. The procedure now consists of the transmission of documentation that authorizes the definitive export of meat products of national origin by the National Meat Institute (INAC) to VUCE, where the documentation will be transmitted to the DNA. The move is expected to improve communication between INAC and the DNA and to reduce the time it takes to conduct foreign trade operations.
For more information, see “Procedimiento de Exportación Definitiva de Carne Se Suma al Entorno de VUCE,” February 2, 2019,

Uruguay is now able to export beef to Japan
Uruguay and Japan lifted bans on each other’s beef imports recently. Uruguayan beef producers now can export beef to Japan. Japan had banned Uruguayan beef in 2000 due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Uruguay.
For more information, see “Luego de 19 Años, Uruguay Volvió Este Miércoles a Exportar Carne de Vaca a Japón,” February 13, 2019,

Uruguay and Angola sign customs cooperation agreement
The governments of Uruguay and Angola signed cooperation agreements in the areas of business, customs, science, and administration in an effort to increase their economic ties.
For more information, see “Angola y Uruguay Impulsan Relaciones de Cooperación,” February 19, 2019,

Uruguay bans imports of wine with added water
In response to Argentina and Chile’s decisions to allow wine producers to add water to their wines, Uruguay has decided to ban this type of wine. Uruguay’s National Institute of Viniculture (INAVI) will require a laboratory certificate along with the import declaration for all wines.
For more information, see “Uruguay Le Declaró la Guerra al Vino Importado con Agua Agregada,” February 21, 2019,

Venezuela and Russia sign economic cooperation agreement
The governments of Venezuela and Russia have signed an agreement on trade and investment. Russia and Venezuela have a strong relationship in areas such as petroleum, politics, gas, mining, agriculture, medicine, cars, tourism, food, and agriculture.
For more information, see “Venezuela y Rusia Evalúan Cooperación entre Ambas Naciones,” February 5, 2019,

Venezuela launches export promotion brand
The government of Venezuela has launched a brand to promote its exports called Estrategia Marca País. The brand is also being used to promote tourism to Venezuela.
For more information, see “Venezuela Lanza la Estrategia Marca País para Impulsar el Turismo y la Exportación,” February 12, 2019,

Venezuelan government closes borders with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao
The government of Venezuela has closed its maritime and aerial borders with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. The move is in response to Western donors’ consideration of Curaçao as a center for humanitarian aid for Venezuela.
For more information, see “Gobierno de Venezuela Cierra Fronteras Aérea y Marítima con Aruba, Bonaire y Curazao,” February 19, 2019,

Venezuela closes borders with Brazil
The government of Venezuela has closed its border with Brazil to prevent humanitarian aid from the United States from entering through the shared border.
For more information, see “Venezuela: Maduro Ordenó el Cierre de Fronteras con Brasil,” February 22, 2019,

Venezuela closes border bridges with Colombia
The government of Venezuela has closed the Simon Bolivar, Santander, and Unión border bridges with Colombia in order to prevent humanitarian aid from entering the country through the border with Colombia.
For more information, see “Venezuela Anuncia Cierre de Puentes Fronterizos con Colombia,” February 24, 2019,