During his visit, DG Azevêdo highlighted Guatemala’s active participation in the WTO, both as a member and as Coordinator for the Group of Small, Vulnerable Economies (SVEs). In both these roles, Guatemala is playing a constructive role in preparations for the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires next December.
He also welcomed Guatemala’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement last March and cited the potential economic benefits to the country from implementation of the deal.
“The Agreement aims to cut trade costs related to inefficient procedures at the border by streamlining and simplifying these processes,” DG Azevêdo noted. “When fully implemented, the Trade Facilitation Agreement could reduce trade costs by up to 23 per cent in Guatemala.”
“I hope you will seize all opportunities available to help you implement this deal and reap its benefits.”
DG Azevêdo met on 31 July with Guatemalan Vice-President Jafeth Cabrera as well as Minister for Economy Victor Asturias. He also met with representatives from the country's National Export Promotion Council (CONAPEX).
Senior officials in Guatemala highlighted the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the country’s economy. “Helping these companies to trade could create more economic opportunities, help job creation and fight poverty,” DG Azevêdo said.
DG Azevêdo also stressed the important role played by Guatemala in the discussions related to trade and development at the WTO. He encouraged Guatemala to stay engaged in these and other issues, both in the run-up to MC11 and beyond.
“Creativity and flexibility are key to ensure we can encompass the diversity of the membership,” he said. “And of course development should be at the centre of these conversations. In all of this, it is important that Guatemala continues to make its voice heard.”