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The Central American Integration System ( es, Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana, or SICA) has been the economic and political organization of
Central America Central America ( es, América Central or ) is a subregion of the Americas. Its boundaries are defined as bordering the United States to the north, Colombia to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Cen ...
n states since 1 February 1993. On 13 December 1991, the ODECA countries (Spanish: ''Organización de Estados Centroamericanos'') signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa, extending earlier cooperation for regional
peace Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. ...
,
political freedom Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept in history and political thought and one of the most important features of Democracy, democratic societies.Hannah Arendt, "What is Freedom?", ''Between ...
,
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
and
economic development In the economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the ...
. SICA's General Secretariat is in El Salvador. In 1991, SICA's institutional framework included
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially th ...
,
El Salvador El Salvador (; , meaning "The Saviour"), officially the Republic of El Salvador ( es, República de El Salvador), is a country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras ...
,
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...
,
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
,
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
and
Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a List of transcontinental countries#North America and South America, transcontinental country spanning the Central America, southern ...
.
Belize Belize (; bzj, Bileez) is a Caribbean and Central American country on the northeastern coast of Central America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Guatemala to the west and south. It also shares a wate ...
joined in 1998 as a full member, while the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles; ht, Gwo Zant ...
became an associated state in 2004 and a full member in 2013.
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...
,
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America. It is the southernmost country in the world, and the closest to Antarctica, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east a ...
and
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, ...
became part of the organization as regional observers, and the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
,
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, Georgia and
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
became extra-regional observers. SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in sessions of the
United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Curr ...
, and maintains offices at
UN Headquarters zh, 联合国总部大楼french: Siège des Nations uniesrussian: Штаб-квартира Организации Объединённых Наций es, Sede de las Naciones Unidas , image = Midtown Manhattan Skyline 004.jpg , im ...
. Four countries (
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially th ...
,
El Salvador El Salvador (; , meaning "The Saviour"), officially the Republic of El Salvador ( es, República de El Salvador), is a country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras ...
,
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...
, and
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
) experiencing political, cultural and migratory integration have formed a group, the Central America Four or CA-4, which has introduced common internal borders and the same type of
passport A passport is an official travel document issued by a government that contains a person's Identity (social science), identity. A person with a passport can travel to and from foreign countries more easily and access consular assistance. A pass ...
. Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic subsequently joined the CA-4 for economic integration.


Headquarters

SICA was supported by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/48L of 10 December 1993. The administrative centre is located in San Salvador, El Salvador. SICA is affiliated with the UN.


History


First Central American Court of Justice

Between 14 November and 20 December 1907, after a proposal by
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...
and the United States, five Central American nations (
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
,
El Salvador El Salvador (; , meaning "The Saviour"), officially the Republic of El Salvador ( es, República de El Salvador), is a country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras ...
,
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially th ...
,
Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean ...
and
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
) took part in the Central American Peace Conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by
United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of state is a member of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States and the head of the United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State. The office holder is one of the highest ra ...
Elihu Root Elihu Root (; February 15, 1845February 7, 1937) was an American lawyer, Republican Party (United States), Republican politician, and statesman who served as United States Secretary of State, Secretary of State and United States Secretary of W ...
. The five nations, all former Spanish colonies, had previously tried to form a political alliance. Their first attempt was the
Federal Republic of Central America The Federal Republic of Central America ( es, República Federal de Centroamérica), originally named the United Provinces of Central America ( es, Provincias Unidas del Centro de América), and sometimes simply called Central America, in it ...
, and the most recent effort was the founding of the Republic of Central America 11 years earlier. The participants concluded the conference with an agreement creating the Central American Court of Justice ''(Corte de Justicia Centroamericana)''. The court would remain in effect for ten years from the final ratification, and communication would be through the government of Costa Rica. It was composed of five judges, one from each member state. The court heard ten cases, five of which were brought by private individuals (and declared inadmissible) and three begun by the court. The court operated until April 1918 from its headquarters in
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
; despite efforts beginning in March 1917 (when Nicaragua submitted a notice of termination of the agreement), it then dissolved. Reasons for the agreement's failure include: *No effective system of judicial procedure *Judges were not independent of their respective governments. *Jurisdiction was too broad to satisfy its member states.


Organization of Central American States

At the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, interest in integrating the Central American governments began. On 14 October 1951 (33 years after the CACJ was dissolved) the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua signed a treaty creating the Organization of Central American States ''(Organización de Estados Centroamericanos'', or ODECA) to promote regional cooperation and unity. The following year (12 December 1952), ODECA's charter was amended to create a new Central American Court of Justice (''Corte Centroamericana de Justicia'', or CCJ) without the time limit of its previous incarnation. The Charter of San Salvador was ratified by all Central American governments, and on 18 August 1955 their foreign ministers attended its first meeting in
Antigua Guatemala Antigua Guatemala (), commonly known as Antigua or La Antigua, is a city in the Guatemalan Highlands, central highlands of Guatemala. The city was the capital of the Captaincy General of Guatemala from 1543 through 1773, with much of its Baroque- ...
. The Declaration of Antigua Guatemala authorized subordinate organizations of ODECA to facilitate economic cooperation, better sanitation and progress in the "integral union" of the Central American nations. The Central American Common Market, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) and the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration ( SIECA) were established by the five Central American nations on 13 December 1960 at a conference in
Managua ) , settlement_type = Capital city , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , pushpin_map = Nicara ...
. All nations ratified the membership treaties the following year.
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
joined the CACM in 1963, but Panama has not yet joined. The organization froze during the 1969 war between Honduras and El Salvador; in 1973 ODECA was suspended, and progress toward regional integration ground to a halt.


Revival

In 1991 the integration agenda advanced with the creation of the SICA, which provided a legal framework to resolve disputes between member states. SICA includes seven Central America nations and the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles; ht, Gwo Zant ...
, which is part of the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
. Central America has several supranational institutions, such as the Central American Parliament, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the Central American Common Market. The Central America trade bloc is governed by the General Treaty for Economical Integration (the Guatemala Protocol), which was signed on 29 October 1993. The CACM has removed duties on most products throughout the member countries, and has unified external
tariff A tariff is a tax imposed by the government of a country or by a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of foreign trade an ...
s and increased trade within its members. The bank has five non-regional members:
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina covers an area of , making it the List of South American countries by area, second-largest ...
,
Colombia Colombia (, ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with insular regions in North America—near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast—as well as in the Pacific Ocean. The Colombian mainland is bordered by the Cari ...
,
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...
, the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
. All SICA members are also part of the Mesoamerica Project, which includes Mexico and Colombia.
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; French: ), officially the Republic of Haiti (); ) and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and ...
joined SICA in 2013 as an associate member, and the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles The Greater Antilles ( es, Grandes Antillas or Antillas Mayores; french: Grandes Antilles; ht, Gwo Zant ...
became a full member on 27 June 2013.


Members and observers


Regional observers

* * * * * * * * * * *


Extra-regional observers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Economic integration


Unified Central American currency

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration has not introduced its own common currency, and
dollarization Currency substitution is the use of a foreign currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, Wikt:currens, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" is a standardization of money in any form, in use or currency in circ ...
is possible. However, for formal purposes the US Dollar is sometimes referred to as "Central American Peso" pegged 1:1 to the Dollar. There are no coins or notes in this currency and it is little known outside of legal circles. Central America is increasing its regional economic development, accelerating its social, political and economic integration. The region has diversified output and price and wage flexibility; however, there is a lack of business-cycle synchronization, dissimilar levels of public-sector debt, diverging inflation rates and low levels of intra-regional trade.


Policy integration

In the parliamentary body are proposals to consider regional air travel as domestic travel, to eliminate roaming fees on telephone calls and to create a regional penitentiary (affiliated with the Central American Court of Justice) to address regional trafficking and international crimes.


Institutions


Central American Parliament

Parlacen was born as a parliamentary body emulating the Federal Republic of Central America, with Costa Rica an observer. It evolved from the Contadora Group, a project launched during the 1980s to deal with
civil war A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
s in
El Salvador El Salvador (; , meaning "The Saviour"), officially the Republic of El Salvador ( es, República de El Salvador), is a country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras ...
,
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America. It is bordered to the north and west by Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially th ...
and
Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest Sovereign state, country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea, Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to ...
. Although the Contadora Group was dissolved in 1986, the concept of Central American integration is implicitly referenced in several countries' constitutions. The Esquipulas Peace Agreement (among other acts) agreed to the creation of a Central American Parliament composed of 20–22 directly-elected deputies from each country.
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in the Central American region of North America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the no ...
has not ratified the agreement, and is not represented in the Parlacen. Parlacen is seen by some (including former President of Honduras Ricardo Maduro) as a
white elephant A white elephant is a possession that its owner cannot dispose of, and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. In modern usage, it is a metaphor used to describe an object, construction project, sch ...
.


Central American Court of Justice

The CCJ's mission is to promote peace in the region and the unity of its member states. The Court has jurisdiction to hear cases: *Between member states *Between a member state and a non-member state accepting the court's jurisdiction *Between states and a resident of a member state *Concerning the integration process between SICA and member states (or persons) The court may offer consultation to the region's supreme courts. In 2005, it ruled that Nicaraguan congressional reforms (which removed control of water, energy and telecommunications from President Enrique Bolaños) were "legally inapplicable". As of July 2005, the CCJ had made 70 resolutions since hearing its first case in 1994.


Organizations

* Central American Bank for Economic Integration (''Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica'', BCIE) * Central American Common Market (CACM; ''Mercado Común Centroamericano'', MCCA) * Central American Court of Justice (CCJ) * Central American Armed Forces Conference (''Conferencia de las Fuerzas Armadas Centroamericanas'', CFAC) * Central American Parliament (''Parlamento Centroamericano'', PARLACEN) ** Plenum ** Board of Parliament ** Secretariat * President's Summit ** ''Comité Consultivo'' (CC-SICA) ** Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs ** Executive Committee (CE-SICA) ** Vice President's Summit ** Secretariat General (SG-SICA) * Central American Educational and Cultural Cooperation (CECC)https://ceccsica.info


See also

*
Latin American Integration Association The Latin American Integration Association / Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración / Associação Latino-Americana de Integração (LAIA / ALADI) is an international and regional scope organization. It was created on 12 August 1980 by the ...
* Central America-4 Border Control Agreement * Central America-4 passport *
Mercosur The Southern Common Market, commonly known by Spanish abbreviation Mercosur, and Portuguese Mercosul, is a South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relat ...
*
Rules of Origin Rules of origin are the rules to attribute a country of origin to a product in order to determine its "economic nationality". The need to establish rules of origin stems from the fact that the implementation of trade policy measures, such as tari ...
*
Market access In international trade, market access is a company's ability to enter a foreign market by selling its goods and services in another country. Market access is not the same as free trade, because market access is normally subject to conditions or req ...
*
Free-trade area A free-trade area is the region encompassing a trade bloc whose member countries have signed a free trade agreement A free-trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is an agreement according to international law to form a free-trade area between the coope ...
*
Tariffs A tariff is a tax imposed by the government of a country or by a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of regulation of International trade, fo ...


References


Bibliography

* *Ishmael, Odeen (July 2007)
Guyana Journal (2007-07): Advancing Integration Between Caricom and Central America
*Kimitch, Rebecca (15 July 2005). ''Commission Studies Impeachment'', Tico Times.


External links


Central American Integration SystemCentral American ParliamentCentral American Economic Integration SystemBCIE / CABEIDecisions of the CACJ in English (1908-1917)Market Access Map
(A free tool developed by
International Trade Centre The International Trade Centre (ITC) () is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The head ...
, which identify customs tariffs, tariff rate quotas, trade remedies, regulatory requirements and preferential regimes applicable to products, including Central American Integration System)
Rules of Origin Facilitator
(A free tool jointly developed by
International Trade Centre The International Trade Centre (ITC) () is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The head ...
,
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...
and
World Customs Organization The World Customs Organization (WCO) is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The WCO works on customs-related matters including the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics suc ...
which enables traders to find specific criteria and general origin requirements applicable to their products, understand and comply with them in order to be eligible for preferential tariffs. The tool is very useful for traders who want to gain benefit from Central American Integration System) {{Authority control Continental unions International organizations based in the Americas Multilateral development banks Foreign relations of Costa Rica Foreign relations of El Salvador Foreign relations of Guatemala Foreign relations of Honduras Foreign relations of Nicaragua Foreign relations of the Dominican Republic Supranational unions Trade blocs United Nations General Assembly observers Politics of Central America Central America-4 Border Control Agreement Organizations established in 1991 Intergovernmental organizations established by treaty Organizations based in El Salvador 1991 in economics 1991 establishments in North America Customs unions