Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2021. 7:38 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes, Belize City: During Thursday’s bilateral discussions held at the office of the Organization of American States (OAS), the representatives of Belize and Guatemala agreed among other things to implement the Partial Scope Trade Agreement (PSTA) between the countries.
Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay, said in response to a question at the press call that followed that it is a matter of reviving the administrative commission responsible for the agreement and putting the infrastructure in place to get the Agreement working.
“That commission had held meetings and had set up different desks and tables for officials to deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary business facilitation, etc. And we have committed to having those entities start their work and working diligently and most importantly to facilitate a meeting with the private sector,” Courtenay said.
Belize, Courtenay continued, is seeking agreement from Guatemala for more products that we want to be covered by the PSTA, and once reviewed, the officials from both countries will get together for further discussions.
Belize is also hoping to get Guatemala to agree to establish a base for the facilitation of permits and other permissions that is closer than Guatemala City, most likely Flores, Peten, or Melchor de Mencos which are not far from the shared border.
With the ICJ to finally rule on the territorial claim in a few years’ time, the focus now, said Courtenay, is “the other areas for cooperation and other concerns between our two countries.”
Minister Pedro Brolo Villa added, in translation, that processes under the Joint Commission had been paused, but that Guatemala is now seeking ways to meet the interests of both countries while the territorial issue is resolved in The Hague, and the PSTA is the way to go in that regard. He committed to returning at some point to update about the objectives set by Thursday’s meeting.
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