POLICY REVIEW BODY: REVIEW OF GUATEMALA
TPRB'S EVALUATION Back
review enables the TPRB to conduct a collective examination of the
full range of trade policies and practices of each WTO member
countries at regular periodic intervals to monitor significant trends
and developments which may have an impact on the global trading
review is based on two reports which are prepared respectively by the
WTO Secretariat and the government under review and which cover all
aspects of the country's trade policies, including its domestic laws
and regulations, the institutional framework, bilateral, regional and
other preferential agreements, the wider economic needs and the
external environment. A record of the discussion and the Chairperson's
summing-up together with these two reports will be published in due
course at the complete trade policy review of Guatemala and will be
available from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de
Lausanne, 1211 Geneva 21.
December 1989, the following reports have been completed: Argentina
(1992 and 1999), Australia (1989, 1994 and 1998), Austria (1992),
Bahrain (2000) Bangladesh (1992 and 2000), Benin (1997), Bolivia (1993
and 1999), Botswana (1998), Brazil (1992, 1996 and 2000), Brunei
Darussalam (2001), Burkina Faso (1998), Cameroon (1995 and 2001),
Canada (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000), Chile (1991 and 1997),
Colombia (1990 and 1996), Costa Rica (1995 and 2001), Côte d’Ivoire
(1995), Cyprus (1997), the Czech Republic (1996 and 2001), the
Dominican Republic (1996), Egypt (1992 and 1999), El Salvador (1996),
the European Communities (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2000), Fiji
(1997), Finland (1992), Gabon (2001), Ghana (1992 and 2001), Guatemala
(2002), Guinea (1999), Hong Kong (1990, 1994 and 1998), Hungary (1991
and 1998), Iceland (1994 and 2000), India (1993 and 1998), Indonesia
(1991, 1994 and 1998), Israel (1994 and 1999), Jamaica (1998), Japan
(1990, 1992, 1995,1998 and 2000), Kenya (1993 and 2000), Korea, Rep.
of (1992, 1996 and 2000), Lesotho (1998), Macao (1994 and 2001),
Madagascar (2001), Malaysia (1993, 1997 and 2001), Mali (1998),
Mauritius (1995 and 2001), Mexico (1993 and 1997), Morocco (1989 and
1996), Mozambique (2001), New Zealand (1990 and 1996), Namibia (1998),
Nicaragua (1999), Nigeria (1991 and 1998), Norway (1991, 1996 and
2000), OECS (2001), Pakistan (1995), Papua New Guinea (1999), Paraguay
(1997), Peru (1994 and 2000), the Philippines (1993 and 1999), Poland
(1993 and 2000), Romania (1992 and 1999), Senegal (1994), Singapore
(1992, 1996 and 2000), Slovak Republic (1995 and 2001), the Solomon
Islands (1998), South Africa (1993 and 1998), Sri Lanka (1995),
Swaziland (1998), Sweden (1990 and 1994), Switzerland (1991, 1996 and
2000 (jointly with Liechtenstein)), Tanzania (2000), Thailand (1991,
1995 and 1999), Togo (1999), Trinidad and Tobago (1998), Tunisia
(1994), Turkey (1994 and 1998), the United States (1989, 1992, 1994,
1996, 1999 and 2001), Uganda (1995 and 2001), Uruguay (1992 and 1998),
Venezuela (1996), Zambia (1996) and Zimbabwe (1994).
POLICY REVIEW BODY: REVIEW OF GUATEMALA
BY THE CHAIRPERSON Back
Trade Policy Review of Guatemala has been thorough and comprehensive,
and has, I am sure, taught us all a lot. This is due very much to the
full and frank involvement of Minister Montenegro and his delegation,
and to the active engagement of many Members. Through our dialogue, we
have obtained a better understanding of the trade-related policies and
practices in place, and of recent and planned changes. At the outset,
allow me to highlight also the support of Members for Guatemala's
ongoing modernization and liberalization efforts, and their
acknowledgement of the progress made by Guatemala since the signing of
the Peace Accords in 1996.
remarked on the important role that trade has played in promoting
growth in Guatemala, the largest economy in Central America. They
recognized the efforts undertaken to improve economic and social
conditions in Guatemala, and encouraged the authorities to maintain,
and indeed strengthen, the policies that have played a considerable
role in this improvement. In this context, some Members suggested that
Guatemala continue to rationalize its fiscal regime and reduce its
reliance on import taxes. Members congratulated Guatemala on the past
implementation of its privatization programme, but underlined the need
to move forward with this programme, promote competition in the
domestic market, and carry on other initiatives in order to
consolidate recent economic gains and raise living standards.
commended Guatemala for its active participation in the multilateral
trading system. They took note of Guatemala's stated conviction that
liberalization of world trade is a central pillar of economic
development. The Guatemalan delegation also affirmed clearly that it
would not use protectionist measures despite the difficult domestic
and international circumstances its economy confronts.
also noted Guatemala's growing participation in preferential
arrangements, and sought further information on a number of them; they
took note of Guatemala's point that it sought FTAs rather than
unilateral preferences. Some Members raised concerns about Guatemala's
administrative capacity to participate effectively and simultaneously
in all such initiatives.
was noted that Guatemala has gained from its participation in the
multilateral trading system. However, some considered that Guatemala
faced special constraints due to it being a small developing country,
and pointed to the need to provide Guatemala with trade-related
technical assistance. Some Members indicated their readiness to
provide such assistance, and requested Guatemala to specify its needs
in this respect.
appreciated that Guatemala's applied tariffs were relatively low.
However, several suggested that by narrowing the current wide gap
between applied and bound tariffs the predictability of the import
regime might be enhanced. A number of Members were concerned about the
consistency with multilateral principles of a recently introduced tax
on certain alcoholic beverages. Many Members asked about customs
procedures and trade facilitation in Guatemala, with some urging
Guatemala to effect improvements in these areas. Guatemala indicated
concrete steps that were being taken in this respect.
sectoral policies, Members expressed particular interest in the
development of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, as well as in
services activities. Several Members noted that Guatemala's applied
and bound tariffs on agricultural products were particularly high.
Members expressed their support for Guatemala's ongoing financial
sector reform and asked for more information on current developments.
Noting that Guatemala's GATS commitments were relatively limited,
several Members invited Guatemala to expand and deepen its commitments
during the current services negotiations.
also sought further clarification on a number of specific areas,
statistics and efforts to improve them;
and export procedures, including insurance requirements;
regime for sugar;
technical regulations and SPS measures;
investment and trade regimes;
policy and related legislation;
procurement and eventual participation in the WTO's Agreement on
in the Information Technology Agreement; and
of intellectual property rights.
Guatemalan delegation gave written and oral replies to questions posed
during the Review. The replies provided have made a major contribution
to this meeting, and were clearly appreciated by Members.
conclusion, through this Review we have gained a first-hand
appreciation of Guatemala's achievements since the signing of the
Peace Accords, and the challenges that lie ahead. It is my sense that
Members very much appreciated Guatemala's efforts to improve its
economic and social conditions, and encouraged it to continue down
this road in order to further its prospects for sustainable economic
growth and social development. Economic growth has come hand-in-hand
with trade liberalization and other modernization efforts, and Members
invited Guatemala to count on the help of the international community
to both secure lasting institutional stability and enhance its
participation in the global economy.