Business chiefs from across Central America made a joint plea to the region's political leaders to ratify a WTO agreement aimed at reducing poor infrastructure and other barriers to trade.
"There is consensus in the Central American private sector that the governments of the region urgently need to take action so all Central American countries ratify the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement," they said through a statement issued by Guatemala's AGEXPOR association of exporters.
The 70 representatives of enterprises in Central America, meeting in Guatemala City, said bureaucracy, lousy roads and other infrastructure, and lack of technology were hobbling their activities and competitiveness.
According to the statement, only Panama and Nicaragua have ratified the WTO accord which was reached in 2013 with the aim of expediting the movement of goods across borders.
Inefficiencies and onerous regulations were increasing the cost of traded goods in the region by as much as 10 percent, the statement said.