Central Americans want economic integration
Latin Americans generally – and Central Americans in particular - favor greater economic integration, according to "The DNA of Regional Integration in Latin America”, a report of the Inter-American Development Bank and Latinobarómetro.
In Nicaragua, suport for increased integration was 81 percent, while the figure was 75 percent or more in each of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama.
Guatemalans, the least enthusiastic in Central America, nevertheless had 63 percent in favor of the principle.
All of the Central American countries have free trade agreements with each other, as well as with the United States and the European Union.
However, there are few trade deals involving any Central American country on one hand, and a South American country on the other.
In Central America itself, integration is limited.
The countries of the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - have in recent years simpllified reciprocal immigration and trade procedures.
Meanwhile, a region with a total population of 30 million suffers from significant diseconomies of scale, including four currencies in six countries, and the application of local standards in almost every economic activity – from pharmaceuticals to banking, and from food processing to product packaging and labelling.
The report is based on a survey of 220,000 people in 18 Latin American countries.