Importers and traders of the Salvadoran wholesale market of La Tiendona announced losses of up to 50% of the loads of fruits and vegetables from Honduras and Guatemala at the border, due to the long delays that the customs procedures cause. They are asking the Directorate General of Customs of El Salvador, DGA, to streamline border bureaucracy.
As reported by the Business Association of Fruit and Vegetable Exporters and Importers of El Salvador (AGEIFVES), a large part of the merchandise that arrives in La Tiendona is in poor condition and has to be sold at a low price or be discarded because the procedures in the Salvadoran customs can take three to six hours per truck, and the products they transport are perishable.
Each truck loses 40 to 50% of the cargo due to the delays in the Salvadoran borders, estimated one entrepreneur of the sector, who stressed that one of the border points with major obstacles is La Hachadura, which is adjacent to Guatemala. In addition, the price of the products that arrive in good condition are then increased by marketers to be able to compensate the losses.
The president of the AGEIFVES denounced that, in addition to cumbersome procedures at borders and crime, businessmen face illegal competition with Hondurans and Guatemalans that smuggle products to the country illegally, without going through customs posts. The foreigners who carry out this bad practice pay for the Import Tariff (DAI), which in the case of fruits and vegetables ranges from 5 to 15%; but they do not pay the income tax or the VAT.
The border of San Cristobal, in Ahuachapan, is one of the points with greater income of merchandise from Guatemala, because it also has several blind spots.
The AGEIFVES signed an agreement with the Society of Salvadoran Traders and Industrialists (SCIS), which aims to unite the efforts of both unions in the search for solutions to the conflicts in the sector.
Oscar Pineda, the president of AGEIFVES, assured that one of the first actions will be requesting a dialogue table with the incoming government to expose the problems that the current administration has been unable to solve.