Press Releases

World Bank Group Workshop Supports Central American Trade and Global Integration

In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gómez, IFC
Phone : 1-202-458-5204
E-mail :

Guatemala City, Guatemala, September 4, 2012—The World Bank and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, are hosting a Trade Facilitation Workshop in Guatemala this week to help Central American governments and companies improve their trade logistics and integrate into the global marketplace.  

Companies in Central America face trade challenges because of customs and regulatory bottlenecks. According to the World Bank’s 2012 Doing Business report, traders in the region need 43 percent more time to export and import products, and they are required to comply with an average of 45 percent more procedures when compared with the average across OECD countries.

The World Bank Group’s Trade Facilitation Workshop will coordinate with the National Competitiveness Program of Guatemala to help streamline trade procedures and reduce the cost to import and export agribusiness products. The workshop is being held in Guatemala City from September 4 to September 6. It brings together 60 participants from the public and private sectors to draft work plans for three areas.
The three areas—identified during a previous workshop—are integration of risk-management systems among border agencies; improvement of the Single Window for Foreign Trade, a computer tool for electronic payment and processing of trade-related documents like permits and certifications; and mutual recognition of import and export sanitation permits between Central American countries.

The work plans will define actions to be implemented in each country throughout IFCs Central America Trade Logistics Project. “Trade logistics is critical to achieving economic competitiveness, growth, and poverty reduction,” said Oscar Avalle, a World Bank representative in Guatemala. “This is why the World Bank Group is prioritizing the issue in Central America and hosting the workshop series.”

Participants include Guatemala’s Minister of Economy, Sergio de la Torre; the country’s Commissioner for Competitiveness Juan Carlos Paiz, other key governmental authorities from the region, and private sector representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Presenters include Joe Cichocki, IFC consultant and expert in cross border management, and Siddharth Priyesh, Single Window expert for CrimsonLogic, who will be presenting on Singapore´s experience in trade logistics.

“IFC supports trade facilitation improvement as a key driver for the competitiveness of the private sector in Central America, especially significant in these times of global economic uncertainty,” said Alvaro Quijandria, IFC Investment Climate Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The time and cost that it takes to comply with export and import processes in the region are very high and impair access to global markets and related economic growth. Our workshop addresses this issue head-on.”

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit,, and

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit

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