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Unstoppable Smuggling in the Northern Triangle

Guatemalan businessmen are demanding stricter laws to combat the illegal entry of goods from Mexico, which are now being sold in El Salvador and Honduras, three Central American countries forming what is known as the Northern Triangle.

Food and beverage companies say that in the municipality of Acajutla, El Salvador, it is possible to buy oil, flour and crackers that were illegally smuggled in from Mexico, first passing through Guatemalan territory, and eventually being sold on Salvadoran soil.

Roberto Herrarte, president of CGAB, said that “…’The scourge of smuggling is appalling, but mostly for the food industry. It’s not ‘ant’ like behaviour anymore and it is hitting industry hard’. Herrarte explained that there are companies that are dedicated to selling these products on the supermarket shelves in the departments that border Mexico.”

The organization of the smugglers is such that they have already started shipping products throughout Guatemala, until they reach El Salvador and northern Honduras.

“… The Chamber that promotes the food and beverage industry at the national level yesterday spoke in favor of a legal initiative to combat smuggling, led by the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT). According to Herrarte, food and beverage products smuggled in from Mexico are not subject to 15 percent VAT and in Guatemala ¨[taxes are] evaded, for which reason is was suggested that the tax be eliminated in order to compete under similar conditions.”