Foreign Trade Developments in Latin America

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

Caribbean

Caribbean countries ban imports of single-use plastics
Beginning January 1, 2019, Belize, Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Granada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago agreed to ban the importation of plastic boxes and single-use plastics. They joined other countries in the region that have already implemented the ban: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Colombia, Guyana, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos.
For more information, see “El Caribe Prohíbe Plásticos de un Solo Uso,” January 25, 2019, https://lanotatucuman.com/el-caribe-prohibe-plasticos-de-un-solo-uso/.

Cuba seeks to increase foreign trade through new Single Window System (VUCE)
The government of Cuba is seeking to facilitate foreign trade through its new Single Window System (VUCE). This platform eventually will allow for the simplification of import and export procedures. However, it is not expected to be implemented before the end of 2019.
For more information, see “Cuba Ampliará Facilidades para Comercio Exterior,” January 2, 2019, https://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=241631&SEO=cuba-ampliara-facilidades-para-comercio-exterior.

Dominican Republic Chamber of Deputies approves new “Customs Law”
The Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic has approved a second reading of the draft “Customs Law of the Dominican Republic.” The purpose of the legislation is to modernize the national customs regime, expedite foreign trade operations, control and supervise the passage of goods through the customs territory, and enable the collection of taxes established by the law. The draft law was introduced in 2012 and has gone through numerous revisions. The president of the Dominican Republic must sign the draft law for it to come into effect.
For more information, see “Senadores Aprueban Ley de Aduanas y Diputados Envían a Comisión Proyecto de Comercio Ilícito,” January 10, 2019, https://www.cdn.com.do/2019/01/10/senadores-aprueban-ley-de-aduanas-y-diputados-envian-a-comision-proyecto-de-comercio-ilicito/.

Dominican Republic installs radiation detection equipment
The General Directorate of Customs of the Dominican Republic received detection equipment from the United States in order to strengthen its ability to inspect and control illicit trafficking of radioactive materials and drugs. The equipment includes 20 gamma-ray personal detectors and 2 isotope identifiers.
For more information, see “Aduanas de República Dominicana Recibió Equipos para Detectar Material Radioactivo en Contenedores y Personas,” January 14, 2019, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/aduanas-de-republica-dominicana-recibio-equipos-para-detectar-material-radioactivo-en-contenedores-y-personas.

Dominican Republic Port Authority announces rehabilitation of Port of Manzanillo
The executive director of the Dominican Republic’s Port Authority (AP) announced the AP’s intention to rehabilitate the Port of Manzanillo. The modernization would include measures to protect the port against seismic events.
For more information, see “Gobierno Dominicano Anuncia Planes de Rehabilitación del Puerto de Manzanillo,” January 21, 2019, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/gobierno-dominicano-anuncia-planes-de-rehabilitacion-del-puerto-de-manzanillo.

Police ban crossbow imports to Trinidad and Tobago and restrict imports of air rifles
At the beginning of January, the Police of Trinidad and Tobago announced a ban on the importation of crossbows in order to prevent the weapons from falling into the hands of criminals. In addition, the importation and sale of air rifles now can only be carried out by authorized arm dealers, immediately nullifying all import permits for the items held by private citizens.
For more information, see “Police Ban Importation of Crossbows,” January 2, 2019, https://newsday.co.tt/2019/01/02/police-ban-crossbows-in-fight-against-crime/.

Central America

Single Central American Declaration (DUCA) to enter into effect this year
In April 2019, the Single Central American Declaration (DUCA) will enter into effect in all Central American countries. The DUCA will comprise three separate forms: the Merchandise Declaration (DM), the Central American Single Customs Form (FAUCA), and the Single Transit Declaration (DUT). Implementation of the DUCA is one of the conditions of the European Union (EU) Associated Agreement (ADA) with the Latin American trading bloc.
For more information, see “En Abril de 2019 Entrará a Regir la Declaración Única Centroamericana, DUCA,” February 5, 2019, https://www.ana.gob.pa/w_ana/index.php/23-news/en-abril-de-2019-entrara-a-regir-la-declaracion-unica-centroamericana-duca.

Costa Rica announces draft law to reduce requirements for businesses operating in free zones
The government of Costa Rica has announced a draft law that would eliminate the requirement for businesses operating in free zones to export 50 percent of their production to the international market. Instead of this requirement, the draft law proposes the institution of a Strategic Eligibility Index for Service Companies, which would be supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Foreign Trade Promoter. This index would enable consideration of other factors for free zone eligibility, including the contribution of the business to the national economy, the level of investment, and the pay contributions to its employees.
For more information, see “Disminuirían Requisitos para Entrar al Régimen de Zonas Francas,” January 14, 2019, https://www.larepublica.net/noticia/disminuirian-requisitos-para-entrar-al-regimen-de-zonas-francas.

Costa Rican legislature approves free trade agreement with South Korea
The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica has approved the free trade agreement that it signed with South Korea on February 21, 2018. This agreement will reduce customs tariffs between both countries and allow for greater South Korean investment in Costa Rica.
For more information, see “Aprueban TLC con Corea,” January 14, 2019, http://www.diarioextra.com/Noticia/detalle/379635/aprueban-tlc-con-corea.

El Salvador streamlines procedures for importing food and beverage items
The government of El Salvador has implemented a digital simplified procedure for importing food and beverages through its Single Window System (VUCE). To complete this procedure, the importer must access the portal and register an import request. The request then must be validated by the Environmental Sanitation System of the Ministry of Health and sent to the Importation System (SIMP). SIMP will receive the response generated by the Ministry of Health, and it will calculate the duties that the importer must pay. Following the payment of duties, the importer will receive the authorization to import foods and beverages, along with a receipt of payment. The payment can be made from anywhere in the world through the Central Reserve Bank website.
For more information, see “Trámites para Importar Alimentos y Bebidas se Harán en Línea desde 2019,” December 21, 2018, https://elmundo.sv/tramites-para-importar-alimentos-y-bebidas-se-haran-en-linea-desde-2019/.

El Salvador is developing an advanced electronic signature, renovating its foreign trade single window, and renovating border posts
With the financial support of FOMILENIO II, a program supported by the United States government, El Salvador will develop an electronic signature system for conducting paperless customs procedures. FOMILENIO II is also supporting updates to El Salvador’s foreign trade single window (CIEX), and renovating border ports at El Amatillo, La Unión, and Anguiatú.
For more information, see “FOMILENIO II Invertirá 1.5 mdd para Facilitar el Comercio Exterior en El Salvador,” January 9, 2019, https://www.forbes.com.mx/fomilenio-ii-invertira-1-5-mdd-para-facilitar-el-comercio-exterior-en-el-salvador/.

El Salvador launches application to verify customs status of imports at the Port of Acajutla
El Salvador has launched a web application to verify the customs status of products being imported to the Port of Acajutla, known as “Verify the Customs Status” (VEA). VEA will allow the public access to information and procedures by the Executive Autonomous Port Commission (CEPA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle Raising (MAG), the General Directorate of Migration and Foreign Services, and the National Civil Police (PNC), among others. The initiative is part of the adoption of the Sidunea World customs administration system in El Salvador.
For more information, see “Lanzan Aplicación para Dar Seguimiento en Tiempo Real a Importaciones,” January 17, 2019, https://elmundo.sv/lanzan-aplicacion-para-dar-seguimiento-en-tiempo-real-a-importaciones/.

El Salvador will open six border posts in the near future, starting with El Poy border crossing
In order to complete its customs integration with Honduras and Guatemala following the adoption of the Customs Union agreement between the three countries, El Salvador will renovate and integrate six border posts that it shares with its neighbors. The first of these posts, El Poy border post (bordering Honduras), has already started renovations and integration. A similar initiative is planned at the border post of El Amatillo (on the Honduras border) and the Anguiatú border post (on the border with Guatemala).
For more information, see “El Salvador Habilitará Seis Puestos Fronterizos,” February 6, 2019, https://elperiodico.com.gt/inversion/2019/01/26/el-salvador-habilitara-seis-puestos-fronterizos/.

Free trade agreement between El Salvador and Taiwan ended on March 15, 2019
The preferential treatment provided by the free trade agreement between El Salvador and Taiwan ended on March 15, 2019. Last year, El Salvador ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switched diplomatic recognition to China. El Salvador is currently in the process of developing a new free trade agreement with China.
For more information, see “TLC entre El Salvador y Taiwán Finalizará el 15 de Marzo,” February 8, 2019, https://www.eleconomista.net/actualidad/TLC-entre-El-Salvador-y-Taiwan-finalizara-el-15-de-marzo-20190208-0033.html.

Guatemala will develop network of laboratory testing centers for imports
With financing from the German Development Agency (GIZ), Guatemala will become a regional center for the analysis of industrial, environmental, and food samples. Through this initiative, Guatemalan laboratories will receive fresh food, processed food, environmental, and industrial samples from other countries for analysis. The network includes 23 laboratories that have been accredited by the Guatemalan Accreditation Office, 2 of which have also been accredited by the Accreditation Agency of the United States.
For more information, see “Guatemala Se Convertirá en el Centro Regional de Análisis de Laboratorios Industriales, Ambientales y Otros,” January 11, 2019, https://newsinamerica.com/pdcc/guatemala-se-convertira-en-el-centro-regional-de-analisis-de-laboratorios-industriales-ambientales-y-otros/.

Government of Guatemala is to invest Q400 million in customs modernization
Under the umbrella of the Integral Customs Modernization Program (MIAD) 2019-2023, the Superintendence of Tax Administration (SAT) of Guatemala has announced an investment of Q400 million (~US$52 million) to modernize customs installations in the country. This project is being financed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
For more information, see “SAT Destina Q400 Millones para Remozar las Aduanas,” February 6, 2019, https://elperiodico.com.gt/inversion/2019/02/06/sat-destina-q400-millones-para-remozar-las-aduanas/.

Guatemala signs authorized economic operator (AEO) mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with Dominican Republic
Guatemala and the Dominican Republic have signed an agreement to recognize each other’s AEO programs in order to facilitate bilateral trade. This will allow for more expedient customs procedures for businesses participating in the AEO programs of both countries. Guatemala expects to sign similar agreements with other pivotal commercial partners such as Mexico and the United States in the near future.
For more information, see “Guatemala Firmó Convenio con República Dominicana para Facilitar Comercio y Mejorar la Competitividad,” February 7, 2019, https://agn.com.gt/guatemala-firmo-convenio-con-republica-dominicana-para-facilitar-comercio-y-mejorar-la-competitividad/.

Honduras and Canada sign open skies agreement
The governments of Honduras and Canada have signed an open skies agreement that will allow for greater commercial exchanges by air. In addition to providing economic benefits, this agreement will provide better security measures for civil aviation and allow for lower airline ticket prices for passengers.
For more information, see “Honduras y Canadá Firman Acuerdo de ‘Cielos Abiertos’,” December 23, 2018, https://www.eldinero.com.do/74942/honduras-y-canada-firman-acuerdo-de-cielos-abiertos/.

Honduras: Customs will modernize technology and simplify procedures
The Presidential Commission for Integral Reform of the Customs System and Trade Operators (COPRISAO) announced that it will modernize customs technology and simplify customs procedures in the future. Some of the initiatives already being implemented include reducing the time of customs services provided at land border crossings and the streamlining of procedures by the Sanitary Regulation Agency and the National Service for Agricultural Food Safety and Health.
For more information, see “Aduanas Agilizará Procesos con Modernización Tecnológica,” January 22, 2019, https://www.laprensa.hn/economia/1249391-410/aduanas-agilizar%C3%A1-procesos-con-modernizaci%C3%B3n-tecnol%C3%B3gica.

Honduras National Congress ratifies free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea
The National Congress of Honduras has ratified an FTA with South Korea. The South Korean parliament will have to approve the agreement for it to enter into force.
For more information, see “En Su Recta Final Vigencia de TLC entre Honduras y Corea del Sur,” January 24, 2019, http://www.latribuna.hn/2019/01/24/en-su-recta-final-vigencia-de-tlc-entre-honduras-y-corea-del-sur/.

Honduras creates Committee for Trade Facilitation
Based on a recommendation from the World Customs Organization (WCO), the government of Honduras has created a Committee for Trade Facilitation. The committee is composed of representatives from different public and private entities. The goal of the committee is to facilitate imports and exports under the terms of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the WCO.
For more information, see “Crean Instancia para Facilitar Comercio Exterior,” January 29, 2019, http://www.latribuna.hn/2019/01/29/crean-instancia-para-facilitar-comercio-exterior/.

Honduras and Cuba sign partial scope agreement to increase bilateral trade
Honduras and Cuba have signed a partial scope agreement to increase bilateral trade in goods and services. The agreement will lead to the liberalization of tariffs in 485 products on the Honduran side and 482 products on the Cuban side.
For more information, see “Con Acuerdo Parcial Agilizarán Comercio de Honduras y Cuba,” February 8, 2019, https://www.laprensa.hn/economia/1257443-410/-acuerdo-parcial-agilizaran-comercio-honduras-cuba-.

Government of Nicaragua will invest US$163 million in ports
The investment is destined for the ports of Corinto, San Juan del Sur, and Bluefields. The government will build a new port in Bluefields and a cruise ship terminal in the San Juan del Sur port. The Port of Corintos will see a complete renovation and the installation of a special terminal for cruise ships. The investment will be funded by the government of Nicaragua, in coordination with the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).
For more information, see “Paquete de Inversión para Puertos Nicaragüenses,” February 12, 2019, https://www.construccionlatinoamericana.com/noticias/paquete-de-inversion-para-puertos-nicaraguenses/136926.article.

Panama Ministry of Health and other institutions sign agreement to prevent illicit import of pharmaceutical products
The Ministry of Health of Panama and other national institutions signed a cooperative agreement to prevent and prosecute the importation and commercialization of illicit and falsified pharmaceutical products. The Panamanian entities that are part of the agreement will develop programs to control the entry of products that may pose a risk to public health. Other members of this initiative are: the National Customs Authority, the University of Panama, the National Police, the National Border Service, the Public Ministry, and the National Aeronaval Service.
For more information, see “Panamá Controlará la Comercialización de Productos Farmacéuticos Ilícitos,” December 20, 2018, https://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/internacionales/centroamerica/481862-panama-controlara-comercializacion-productos-farma/.

Panama imposes agricultural safeguards on United States products
The National Customs Authority of Panama has released a list of items subject to verification and authorization prior to their importation from the United States. These items include bovine products, pork meat, certain vegetable oil, canola oil, and processed tomatoes.
For more information, see “Comunicado sobre el Mecanismo de Salvaguardia Especial Agricola del Tratado de Promoción Comercial entre la República de Panamá y los Estados Unidos de América,” January 11, 2019, https://www.ana.gob.pa/w_ana/index.php/ultimas-noticias/comunicado-sobre-el-mecanismo-de-salvaguardia-especial-agricola-del-tratado-de-promocion-comercial-entre-la-republica-de-panama-y-los-estados-unidos-de-america.

North America

Mexico will draft new customs law in 2019; changes in Tax Administration Service (SAT) composition expected
The government of Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that a new customs law will be drafted and presented before the Mexican Congress in 2019. The new customs law reportedly will adhere to Kyoto Protocol standards. Furthermore, the General Customs Administration (Aduanas) and the General Administration of Foreign Trade Audit reportedly will be merged into one administration.
For more information, see “En 2019 Habrá una Nueva Ley Aduanera,” December 26, 2018, https://mexicoxport.com/en-2019-habra-una-nueva-ley-aduanera/.

Mexico adds quotas to 74 products
Mexico has instituted quotas on 74 products at the 8-digit tariff code level. Products such as beans, coffee, barley, and chicken meat are among those affected by the quotas. However, Mexico has provided partner countries with which it has commercial agreements partial reprieve from these quotas, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, and the EU.
For more information, see “México Aplica Cupos en 74 Líneas Arancelarias,” January 3, 2019, https://www.opportimes.com/mexico-aplica-cupos-en-74-lineas-arancelarias/.

Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and Secretariat of Economy (SE) of Mexico sign export and investment agreement
SRE and SE signed an agreement that would transfer responsibility for promoting Mexican exports and investment though its embassies around the world from SE to the SRE. This move follows the elimination of PROMEXICO, Mexico’s main export and investment promotion body, by the new administration. Mexico’s Foreign Service will take on the defunct agency’s role.
For more information, see “SRE y Economía Firman Acuerdo para Promover Exportaciones e Inversions,” January 7, 2019, https://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/sre-y-economia-firman-acuerdo-para-promover-exportaciones-e-inversiones/1288749.

Mexico and the United States sign natural gas export agreement with focus on Asian markets
The governors of three border states of Mexico and the United States (Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora) signed an agreement to study and develop a plan that would allow for the transport of natural gas through existing pipelines to the Gulf of California with the goal of exportation to Asian markets.
For more information, see “México y EU Firman Acuerdo para Exportar Gas Natural al Continente Asiático,” January 9, 2019, https://mexicoxport.com/mexico-y-eu-firman-acuerdo-para-exportar-gas-natural-al-continente-asiatico/.

Mexican Customs Service extends hours of operation for imports of finished oil products
Due to a need to regularize its supply of gasoline products, Customs has announced that it will extend its hours of operation to 24 hours a day in the border checkpoints of Aguascalientes, Queretaro, and Guanajuato for imports of these products. Gasoline products will be allowed to enter Mexican ports under the same conditions.
For more information, see “SAT Amplía a 24 Horas Importación de Gasolina por Desabasto,” January 16, 2019, https://heraldodemexico.com.mx/mer-k-2/sat-amplia-a-24-horas-importacion-de-gasolina-por-desabasto/.

Mexico lowers tariffs on shoe products from Vietnam
In accordance with the terms of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Mexico has started to lower tariffs on shoe products originating in Vietnam. The tariffs will be reduced gradually from 27.1 percent to zero by 2031.
For more information, see “México Inicia la Reducción de Aranceles a la Importación de Calzado de Vietnam,” January 16, 2019, https://www.modaes.com/entorno/mexico-inicia-la-reduccion-de-aranceles-a-la-importacion-de-calzado-de-vietnam.html.

Mexico’s Merchant Marine and Colima state governor sign agreement to strengthen trade logistics at Port of Manzanillo
The general coordinator of Mexico’s Ports and Merchant Marine (PyMM) and the governor of the state of Colima have signed an agreement to collaborate in strengthening trade logistics at the Port of Manzanillo. The port handles 44 percent of all Mexican containerized cargo and is home to the second busiest customs office.
For more information, see “Puerto de Manzanillo, México: Puertos y Marina Mercante y Gobierno de Colima Firman Convenio para Mejoras Logísticas,” January 28, 2019, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/puerto-de-manzanillo-mexico-puertos-y-marina-mercante-y-gobierno-de-colima-firman-convenio-para-mejoras-logisticas.

Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) opens customs office at Interpuerto Monterrey in Salinas Victoria, Nuevo León
On World Customs Day (January 28), SAT opened a customs office at Interpuerto Monterrey in Salinas Victoria, Nuevo León. The office will allow Interpuerto Monterrey to become a logistics and manufacturing hub by providing access to the U.S. market and the rest of the Mexican market. Operations such as exportation and importation by highway and rail are now available at this location.
For more information, see “SAT Inaugura Sección Aduanera de Salinas Victoria B en Interpuerto Monterrey?” January 28, 2019, https://mexicoxport.com/sat-inaugura-seccion-aduanera-de-salinas-victoria-b-en-interpuerto-monterrey/.

Mexico Secretariat of Economy (SE) and Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment, and Technology (COMCE) sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote exports
SE and COMCE signed an MOU to promote Mexico’s exporting sector through the organization of seminars and training courses. The MOU also will allow businesses and the government to promote the participation of Mexican micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in international expos and international commercial missions.
For more information, see “Secretaría de Economía y Comce Impulsarán Sector Exportador,” January 29, 2019, https://heraldodemexico.com.mx/mer-k-2/secretaria-de-economia-y-comce-impulsaran-sector-exportador/.

Mexico eliminates safeguard measure for steel imports from non-treaty countries
The government of Mexico decided not to renew an automatic 15 percent safeguard on steel products originating in countries with which it does not have a commercial agreement. The safeguard had been in place since 2015 and targeted undervalued steel imports from Asian countries.
For more information, see “México Decide no Renovar Salvaguarda de Importaciones de Acero,” February 1, 2019, https://expansion.mx/economia/2019/02/01/mexico-decide-no-renovar-salvaguarda-de-importaciones-de-acero.

Mexico lowers tariffs on imports of textiles from non-treaty commercial partners
Mexico has reduced tariffs on the imports of textile and shoe products from countries with which it does not have a commercial agreement. These tariffs were reduced from 25 to 20 percent for the most sensitive textile products and from 30 and 25 to 20 percent for shoe products.
For more information, see “México Decide no Renovar Salvaguarda de Importaciones de Acero,” February 1, 2019, https://expansion.mx/economia/2019/02/01/mexico-decide-no-renovar-salvaguarda-de-importaciones-de-acero.

Tecun Uman border post reopens after migrant clashes
The border crossing in Hidalgo City in the Mexican state of Chiapas reopened in early February following its closure due to an influx of 3,500 Central American migrants.
For more information, see “Abren Aduana entre México y Guatemala tras Irrupción de Migrantes,” February 2, 2019, https://noticieros.televisa.com/ultimas-noticias/abren-aduana-mexico-guatemala-irrupcion-migrantes/.

SENASICA and National Agricultural Council (CNA) establish agenda for agricultural food health and foreign trade
The Mexico National Service of Health, Food Safety and Agricultural Food Quality (SENASICA) and CNA have established a working agenda for 2019 with the goal of transforming rural communities and maintaining Mexico’s agricultural productivity and international reputation. Part of the agenda includes satisfying producers’ demand to expand markets for Mexican agricultural products in places such as Russia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the European Union.
For more information, see “Acuerdan Agenda de Sanidad Agroalimentaria y Comercio Exterior 2019,” February 3, 2019, https://mexico.quadratin.com.mx/acuerdan-agenda-de-sanidad-agroalimentaria-y-comercio-exterior-2019/.

Mexico and Costa Rica agree to end dispute over Hass avocados
The Costa Rica State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Mexico National Service of Health, Food Safety and Agricultural Food Quality (SENASICA) of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) have reached a technical agreement to end their dispute over the import of Mexican Hass avocados to Costa Rica.
For more information, see “Costa Rica y México Negocian Acuerdo para Poner Fin a Proceso sobre Importación de Aguacate Hass,” February 6, 2019, http://www.monumental.co.cr/2019/02/06/costa-rica-y-mexico-negocian-acuerdo-para-poner-fin-proceso-sobre-importacion-de-aguacate-hass/.

Mexico and Argentina to deepen trade relations
In the framework of the Mexico-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement and the Economic Complementation Agreement (ACE No. 6), Argentina and Mexico have announced the reopening of bilateral commercial negotiations that were halted a year ago. The governments expect that these exchanges will lead to an increase in bilateral trade in cars, food, and services.
For more information, see “Negocian con México para Ampliar Acuerdo Comercial,” February 8, 2019, https://mexicoxport.com/negocian-con-mexico-para-ampliar-acuerdo-comercial/.

United States to withdraw from commercial agreement on tomatoes with Mexico
The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced its intention to withdraw from an agreement it signed with Mexico in 2013 on the commercial exchange of tomatoes. Under the agreement, the United States had suspended anti-dumping measures against Mexican tomato imports, as long as Mexico agreed to some restrictions.
For more information, see “EEUU se Retirará de Acuerdo sobre Comercio de Tomate con México,” February 8, 2019, http://udgtv.com/noticias/nacional/eeuu-retira-acuerdo-comercio-tomate-mexico/.

Mexico and Qatar sign agricultural and fisheries commercial agreement
A representative of the Mexico Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) and the Qatari ambassador to Mexico outlined the process that the two countries will begin in order to make agricultural and fisheries commercial exchanges, including the development of animal and phytosanitary protocols and controls. Qatar expects to import halal products such as bovine meat, chickpeas, white corn, herbs, avocados, berries, sugar, coffee, honey, shrimp, tuna and tilapia from Mexico prior to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
For more information, see “Afinan Lazos Comerciales entre México y Qatar,” February 10, 2019, https://www.jornada.com.mx/ultimas/2019/02/10/afinan-lazos-comerciales-entre-mexico-y-qatar-7560.html.

Mexico and Japan sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen commercial ties
The governments of Mexico and Japan have agreed to foster commercial and economic activity, particularly providing more opportunities for micro, small, and medium-sized companies, on the basis of the Mexico-Japan Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
For more information, see “México y Japón Fortalecen Lazos Comerciales,” February 11, 2019, https://www.20minutos.com.mx/noticia/479414/0/mexico-y-japon-fortalecen-lazos-comerciales/.

Mexico bans U.S. corn imports during harvest season
The Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) of Mexico has announced a temporary suspension of corn imports from the United States during harvest season, beginning in May and lasting until the whole crop is sold. The ban will allow for an increase in local consumption of corn. Certain varieties of yellow corn imports will still be allowed to satisfy demand in the livestock industry.
For more information, see “Acuerdan Productores y la Sader Cerrar Importación de Maíz,” February 11, 2019, https://lineadirectaportal.com/sinaloa/acuerdan-productores-y-la-sader-cerrar-importacion-de-maiz/.

Mexico and Finland sign sustainable investment agreement
The government of Mexico, through the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), and the government of Finland signed an agreement aimed at strengthening sustainable commercial investment and cooperation between the two countries.
For more information, see “Semarnat y Gobierno de Finlandia Acuerdan Inversión Sustentable para México,” February 19, 2019, https://mexicoxport.com/semarnat-y-gobierno-de-finlandia-acuerdan-inversion-sustentable-para-mexico/.

Mexico launches maritime highway project
The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) of Mexico announced the launch of a maritime highway project. This project will guarantee that certain vessels will carry 15,000 tons per trip, thus increasing safety conditions, fuel economy, and lessening environmental degradation. The project will be funded by surpluses generated by the ports that will compose the Fund for Strengthening Port Infrastructure (FIPORT).
For more information, see “SCT Impulsa Proyecto de Carreteras Marinas para Promover Nuevos Negocios,” February 20, 2019, https://mexicoxport.com/sct-impulsa-proyecto-de-carreteras-marinas-para-promover-nuevos-negocios/.

Mexico to export halal agricultural products to Qatar
The government of Mexico has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Qatar under which Mexico will begin exporting halal agricultural products to Qatar.
For more information, see “Mexico and Qatar Sign Halal Trade Partnership,” February 25, 2019, https://iegvu.agribusinessintelligence.informa.com/CO225308/Mexico-and-Qatar-sign-Halal-trade-partnership.

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, https://www.elintransigente.com/politica/2019/1/10/aprobaron-un-acuerdo-economico-entre-el-mercosur-chile-534665.html.

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, https://www.elintransigente.com/sociedad/2019/1/17/modifican-el-reglamento-de-los-envases-de-alimentos-para-el-mercosur-536097.html.

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, https://www.porttechnology.org/news/port_of_buenos_aires_announces_modernization_plan.

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, https://www.baenegocios.com/politica/Prohiben-la-importacion-y-venta–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, http://efectococuyo.com/economia/argentina-regula-cupos-para-exportar-carne-y-lacteos-a-venezuela/.

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, https://avicultura.info/argentina-certificacion-electronica-agiliza-la-exportacion-de-carne-de-ave/.

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, https://mexicoxport.com/argentina-y-chile-ponen-en-marcha-un-ambicioso-acuerdo-de-libre-comercio/.

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, https://serviciosweb.afip.gob.ar/genericos/prensa/VerGacetilla.aspx?id=532.

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, https://www.ambito.com/sumaran-la-aduana-la-ventanilla-unica-comercio-exterior-n5012453.

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, https://www.iprofesional.com/comex/286827-exportaciones-presidente-comercio-Argentina-vendera-huevos-limones-semillas-y-harina-a-la-India.

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, https://www.elsol.com.ar/la-yerba-mate-argentina-llegara-a-dubai-y-la-india.

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, http://www.lostiempos.com/actualidad/economia/20181220/bolivia-firma-protocolo-exportar-soya-china.

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, https://webpicking.com/aduana-instala-estructura-en-puente-nuevo-de-desaguadero/.

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, https://www.paginasiete.bo/inversion/2019/1/6/la-firma-digital-simplifica-las-exportaciones-205077.html.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/bolivia-y-uruguay-firman-acuerdo-preferencial-en-dos-puertos-de-paraguay.

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, https://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=254493&SEO=mecanismos-internacionales-fortalecen-lucha-antinarcoticos-en-bolivia.

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, http://www.mdic.gov.br/index.php/noticias/3764-governo-atualiza-anexos-da-nova-versao-da-nomenclatura-brasileira-de-servicos.

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, https://www.h2foz.com.br/noticia/segunda-ponte-brasil-paraguai-temer-e-marito-assinam-declaracao.

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, https://politica.estadao.com.br/blogs/fausto-macedo/politica-nacional-de-exportacao-e-importacao-de-produtos-de-defesa/.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/brasil-ministerio-de-transportes-puertos-y-aviacion-pasa-a-ser-el-ministerio-de-infraestructura.

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, http://portal.siscomex.gov.br/informativos/noticias/importacao/04-01-2019-noticia-siscomex-importacao-no-01-2019.

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, http://correodelsur.com/economia/20190105_chile-y-brasil-confirman-acuerdo-para-corredor-bioceanico-sin-bolivia.html.

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, https://paranaportal.uol.com.br/agronegocio/brasil-vai-exportar-material-genetico-bovino-e-bubalino-para-o-suriname/.

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, http://portal.siscomex.gov.br/informativos/noticias/exportacao/22-01-2019-noticia-siscomex-exportacao-no-08-2019.

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, http://portal.siscomex.gov.br/informativos/noticias/exportacao/22-01-2019-noticia-siscomex-exportacao-no-07-2019.

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, http://www.laprensa.com.bo/economia/20190111/chile-impulsa-plataforma-logistica-aprovechando-proyecto-bioceanico.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/diputados-aprueban-proyecto-que-moderniza-el-servicio-nacional-de-aduanas-en-chile.

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, https://www.eleconomistaamerica.cl/empresas-eAm-chile/noticias/9658605/01/19/Chile-avanza-en-la-transformacion-digital-logistica-maritima-y-terrestre.html.

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, https://www.latercera.com/mundo/noticia/chile-se-adelanta-firma-nuevo-acuerdo-comercial-reino-unido/506915/.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/aduanas-de-chile-simplifica-ingreso-de-importaciones-en-caso-de-emergencias.

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, http://www.estrategia.cl/texto-diario/mostrar/1319392/entro-vigencia-modernizacion-tlc-entre-chile-canada.

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, https://www.rcnradio.com/economia/comienza-en-firme-la-facturacion-electronica-en-colombia.

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, https://www.larepublica.co/empresas/colombia-creara-dos-nuevos-distritos-que-impulsaran-exportaciones-de-moda-2813981.

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, https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/economia/4/aerolinea-colombiana-inicio-operaciones-en-la-ruta-bogota-latacunga-bogota.

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, https://www.eltiempo.com/economia/sectores/mayor-arancel-de-colombia-a-importaciones-de-acero-322506.

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, https://gestion.pe/economia/colombia-exportara-pina-variedad-oro-miel-peru-258777.

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, https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/negocios-reduccion-aranceles-union-europea.html.

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, https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/economia/4/importacion-bienes-inen.

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, https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/sociedad/6/personas-discapacidad-exoneracion-tributos-vehiculos.

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, https://www.eleconomista.es/noticias/noticias/9622031/01/19/Paraguay-suprime-licencia-de-importacion-a-productos-de-comercio-electronico.html.

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, https://www.lanacion.com.py/negocios/2019/01/09/buscan-agilizara-tramites-para-importacion-de-autos-usados/.

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, https://www.ip.gov.py/ip/paraguay-se-une-a-plataforma-de-la-omc-para-facilitar-comercio-internacional/.

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, https://portalportuario.cl/paraguay-incorpora-software-para-gestion-de-carga-de-exportacion-a-traves-de-sus-puertos-fluviales/.

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, http://www.nanduti.com.py/2019/02/06/aduanas-puertos-se-instalaran-zona-fronteriza-bolivia/.

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, https://www.ultimahora.com/aduanas-usara-nuevo-sistema-control-cargas-chinas-n2800245.html.

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, http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2018/december/peru-inaugurated-its-new-central-customs-laboratory.aspx.

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, https://gestion.pe/economia/mef-incorpora-nuevas-infracciones-sanciones-ley-general-aduanas-254254.

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, https://elcomercio.pe/economia/peru/sunat-sancionara-infracciones-aduanas-condiciones-noticia-nndc-596038.

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, https://elcomercio.pe/economia/peru/chile-podra-denominacion-origen-pisco-india-litigio-peru-noticia-596331.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/peru-aprobo-exoneracion-en-el-cobro-de-tasas-por-tramitacion-de-procedimientos-para-recibir-y-despachar-naves.

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, https://www.mundomaritimo.cl/noticias/tren-lima-ndash-ica-se-interconectara-con-puertos-de-callao-y-san-martin-de-pisco.

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, https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/economia/4/peru-mercado-productos-lacteos-ecuador.

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, https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9072521/peru-will-be-able-to-export-more-easily-to-mexico/.

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, https://andina.pe/agencia/noticia-simplifican-importacion-alimentos-industrializados-origen-animal-742740.aspx.

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, https://rurales.elpais.com.uy/carnes/protocolo-sanitario-con-china-deja-afuera-la-exportacion-de-lengua-y-quijada.

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, https://www.aduanas.gub.uy/innovaportal/v/19691/6/innova.front/dna-y-mgap-firmaron-convenio-de-cooperacion-tecnica.html.

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, https://www.presidencia.gub.uy/comunicacion/comunicacionnoticias/decreto-gestion-medioambiental-adecuada-mercurio-reglamentacion-uso-disposicion-final.

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, https://presidencia.gub.uy/comunicacion/comunicacionnoticias/acuerdo-anp-asp-b-dominguez-sanchez-montevideo-nueva-palmira.

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, https://www.aduanas.gub.uy/innovaportal/v/19746/6/innova.front/procedimiento-de-exportacion-definitiva-de-carne-se-suma-al-entorno-de-vuce.html.

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, https://www.montevideo.com.uy/Noticias/Luego-de-19-anos-Uruguay-volvio-este-miercoles-a-exportar-carne-de-vaca-a-Japon-uc710089.

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, https://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=254287&SEO=angola-y-uruguay-impulsan-relaciones-de-cooperacion.

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, https://www.elobservador.com.uy/nota/uruguay-le-declaro-la-guerra-al-vino-importado-con-agua-agregada-2019221153359.

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, http://vtv.gob.ve/venezuela-rusia-reunion-relaciones-bilaterales/.

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, https://mundo.sputniknews.com/america-latina/201902121085404304-venezuela-lanza-estrategia-marca-pais/.

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, https://mundo.sputniknews.com/america-latina/201902191085587735-fronteras-estado-falcon/.

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, https://mundo.sputniknews.com/radio_en_orbita/201902221085637698-Maduro-cierra-frontera-con-brasil/.

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, https://mundo.sputniknews.com/america-latina/201902231085666276-venezuela-cierra-puentes-fronteras-colombia/.