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Flag of the Central American Integration System.

Logo of the Central American Integration System.


The Central American Integration System is Central American union that emerge from CACM, which it's selfg date back to the

The Central American Integration System (Spanish: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana, or SICA) is the economic and political organization of Central American states since February 1, 1993. On December 13, 1991, the ODECA countries (Spanish: Organización de Estados Centroamericanos) signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa, extending earlier cooperation for regional peace, political freedom, democracy and economic development. SICA's General Secretariat is in El Salvador.

In 1991, SICA's institutional framework included Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Belize joined in 2000 as a full member, while the Dominican Republic became an associated state in 2004 and a full member in 2013. Mexico, Chile and Brazil became part of the organization as regional observers, and the Republic of China, Spain, Germany and Japan became extra-regional observers. SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, and maintains offices at UN Headquarters.

Four countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua) 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. Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic join the CA-4 for economic integration and regional friendship.


Ideas about some sort of regional body were floating about as far back as 1907 as a way to end local trade desputes and border wars.


They wanted a way to end local trade disputes and recurrent border wars.


It was started in the November of 1907.

First Central American Court of Justice[]

The Federal Republic of Central America (Spanish: República Federal de Centroamérica), also called the United Provinces of Central America (Spanish: Provincias Unidas del Centro de América) in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America, which consisted of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain. It existed from September 1821 to 1841, and was a republican democracy. It is also sometimes incorrectly referred to in English as the United States of Central America.

Between November 14 and December 20, 1907, after a proposal by Mexico and the United States, five Central American nations (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) took part in the Central American Peace Conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by United States Secretary of State Elihu Root. 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, 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; 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:
  1. No effective system of judicial procedure
  2. Judges were not independent of their respective governments.
  3. Jurisdiction was too broad to satisfy its member states. 

Organization of Central American States[]

At the end of World War II, interest in integrating the Central American governments began. On October 14, 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 (December 12, 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 August 18, 1955 their foreign ministers attended its first meeting in Antigua, Guatemala. 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 December 13, 1960 at a conference in Managua. All nations ratified the membership treaties the following year. Costa Rica joined the CACM in 1963, but Panama has not yet joined. The organization froze duringthe 1969 war between Honduras and El Salvador; in 1973 ODECA was suspended, and progress toward regional integration ground to a halt.


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, which is part of 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 October 29, 1993. The CACM has removed duties on most products throughout the member countries, and has unified external tariffs and increased trade within its members. The bank has five non-regional members: Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, the Republic of China and Spain.

All SICA members are also part of the Mesoamerica Project, which includes Mexico and Colombia. In 2013 Haiti joined SICA as an associate member, and on 27 June 2013 the Dominican Republic became a full member.

Present day[]

The Mesoamerica Project is moving towards a more embracing union like the EU had in the early to mid 2010s.

Economic integration[]

Cutting tariffs prior to CACM[]

There were some moves to do this in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Central American Common Market[]

Mercado Común Centroamericano Central American Common Market (CACM) Map of Central America indicating CACM members Map of Central America indicating CACM members Type Common market Membership 5 Central American countries Establishment 1960-1969, 1991 to date

The Central American Common Market (CACM); (Spanish: Mercado Común Centroamericano, MCCA) was an economic trade organisation between five nations of Central America spanning 100 million acres. It was established on December 13, 1960 between the nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua in a conference in Managua. These nations ratified the treaties of membership the following year. Costa Rica joined the CACM in 1963. Panama is conspicuous by absence.

Many trade barriers between its member states were eliminated or reduced, and between 1961 and 1968 trade among them increased to a figure 7 times grater than its previous level leading to a substantive period of ecanomic between 1961 and 1969.

The organisation collapsed in 1969 with the Football War between Honduras and El Salvador, but was then reinstated in 1991.

The current Central America trade block is organized by the General Treaty for Economical Integration signed October 29 1993 (Guatemala Protocol) which is part of the Central American Integration System SICA.

The CACM has succeeded in removing duties on most products moving among the member countries, and has largely unified external tariffs and increased trade within the member nations. However, it has not achieved the further goals of greater economic and political unification that were hoped for at the organisation's founding, mainly caused by the CACM's inability and lack of reliable means to settle trade disputes.

Unified Central American currency[]

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration has not introduced a common currency, and dollarization is possible. 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.


Central American Parliament[]

The Central American Parliament (Spanish: Parlamento Centroamericano), also known as PARLACEN, is the political institution and parliamentary body of Central American Integration System (SICA). Its headquarters are located in Guatemala City.

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 wars in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. 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 has not ratified the agreement, and is not represented in the Parlacen organisation. Parlacen is seen by some (including former President of Honduras Ricardo Maduro) as a white elephant.

Central American Court of Justice[]

The Central American Court of Justice (CCJ's) mission is to promote peace in the region and the unity of its member states. The Court has jurisdiction to hear cases:

  1. Between member states.
  2. Between a member state and a non-member state accepting the court's jurisdiction.
  3. Between states and a resident of a member state.
  4. Concerning the integration process between SICA and member states (or persons).
  5. 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.

It's sub-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 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)


The CAIS is headquartered in San Salvador, El Salvador. The CACM is headquartered in Guatemala City.

Mottos, emblems, flags and anthems[]

  • Motto: "God, Union and Liberty".
  • Anthem: La Granadera (Eng': "The Song of the Grenadier".).

UN affiliation[]

SICA was supported by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/48L of December 10, 1993. Under the Tegucigalpa Protocol, SICA is affiliated with the UN. SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in sessions of the United Nations General Assembly and maintains offices at UN Headquarters.

Related projects[]

Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement[]

  • Note: Within this article, "CAFTA" refers to the agreement as it stood before January 2004, and "CAFTA-DR" is used after that.

The Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is a free trade agreement (legally a treaty under international law, but not under U.S. law). Originally, the agreement encompassed the United States and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and was called CAFTA. In 2004, the Dominican Republic joined the negotiations, and the agreement was renamed CAFTA-DR.

CAFTA-DR, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and active bilateral free trade agreements such as the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement are seen as bloc agreements instead of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement. Panama has completed negotiations with the United States for a bilateral free trade agreement known as the Panama–U.S. Trade Promotion Agreement, and has been in effect since October 2012.

The CAFTA-DR constitutes the first free trade agreement between the United States and a small group of developing countries. It was created with the purpose of creating new and better economic opportunities by opening markets, eliminating tariffs, reducing barriers to services, and more. In 2009, it was estimated that the total two-way trade resulted in $37.9 billion. Nearly all Central American exports to the United States had already been tariff-free thanks to the 1984 Caribbean Basin Initiative.

In May 2004 the Salvadoran American National Network, the largest national association of Central American community-based organizations in the United States, expressed opposition to CAFTA, which they claimed was not ideologically motivated: "As immigrants, we have a deep understanding of the potential benefits of improved transnational cooperation. We would welcome an agreement that would increase economic opportunity, protect our shared environment, guarantee workers' rights and acknowledge the role of human mobility in deepening the already profound ties between our countries. However, the CAFTA agreement falls far short of that vision."

To create an FTA, governments pledge to grant market access to foreign firms by reducing and eventually eliminating tariffs and other measures that protect domestic products. To do so, the CAFTA-DR treaty stipulates national treatment and includes a most-favored nation clause. It also includes the protection of international property rights and requires from their signatories certain measures in the realm of transparency (e.g., parties are obligated to criminalize bribery in matters affecting international trade or investment). Moreover, the agreement includes i.a. chapters on investment, public procurement procedures, and financial services.

While manufacturing costs of generic drugs are relatively cheap, the costs of human tests are relatively expensive, and tests take months or years. If generic manufacturers had to redo the tests, the generic drug would be more expensive, and generic manufacturers might not be able to do the tests at all. Furthermore, if generic manufacturers had to redo the tests, they would have to compare the new, effective drugs to less-effective drugs, which according to Doctors Without Borders, would be unethical. In the United States, drug manufacturers must make test data public for generic manufacturers. Under CAFTA's test data exclusivity, drug manufacturers could keep test data secret, which would make it more difficult for local companies to produce generic drugs, and enable multinational pharmaceutical companies to keep a monopoly on branded drugs, including those used to treat AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement[]

The Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Panamá y Estados Unidos or TLC) is a bilateral free trade agreement between Panama and the United States that has been in effect since October 2012. Stated objectives include eliminating obstacles to trade, consolidating access to goods and services and favoring private investment in and between both nations. Apart from commercial issues, it incorporates economic, institutional, intellectual-property, labor and environmental policies, among others.

The negotiations were officially completed on December 19, 2006, though elements were still to be renegotiated. The agreement was signed on 28 June 2007, and Panama's National Assembly ratified it on the following 11 July, before the twelve hundred page document had been translated into Spanish.

Canada–Central American Free Trade Agreement[]

The Canada–Central American Free Trade Agreement was a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, collectively referred to as the CA4 (Canada already has a bilateral FTA with another Central American country, Costa Rica). Negotiations were undertaken between 2001 and 2010 and included twelves rounds of negotiations, after which time Canada and Honduras instead decided to pursue a bilateral agreement between themselves. Those negotiations concluded successfully in August 2011.

The U.S. has negotiated and ratified a similar treaty with these countries, called the Central American Free Trade Agreement. In a referendum on October 7, 2007, the voters of Costa Rica narrowly backed the free trade agreement with the U.S., with about 52 percent of "Yes" votes.

Canada–Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement[]


The Canada–Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) is a free trade agreement between Costa Rica and Canada. It was signed on April 23, 2001 in Ottawa, Ontario, and came into effect on November 1, 2002. It is the first bilateral free trade agreement to include innovative stand-alone procedures on trade. 87% of all tariffs on agricultural products were eliminated, either immediately, or over a 7-14 year period. Tariffs on many other industries like automotive goods and goods were also eliminated. Several sectors of agriculture were excluded from the treaty; eggs, dairy, poultry and beef being excluded, and Costa Rica decided to leave potatoes out of the FTA. Both nations agreed to use the World Trade Organization rules for sanitary and phytosanitary issues(known as the SPS agreement).

The main goals of the FTA include:

  1. The establishment of free trade
  2. The creation of opportunities for economic development
  3. The elimination of trade barriers
  4. The promotion of fair competition
  5. In the first 3 years of the agreement, trade increased by 36% (from $324 million to $440 million).

It has been proposed that the Free Trade Area of the Americas be modeled after the CCRFTA.

Negotiations for modernization[]

There are a number of ongoing negotiations for modernization of the agreement.

History of trade balances[]

History of trade balances.
Trade Type. 2010. 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014.
Total Canadian Exports. 99,930. 160,756. 185,463. 114,618. 152,052.
Total Canadian Imports. 436,057. 475,705. 513,405. 590,816. 577,616.
Trade Balance. -336,127. -314,949. -327,942. -476,198. -425,564.
  • Amounts in thousands of Canadian dollars.

The Mesoamerica Project[]


The Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project (Spanish: Proyecto Mesoamérica, or PM) is a regional mechanism specialized in implementing projects that deliver regional public goods for inclusive development and integration of the 10 participating countries that share a common history and culture: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

The initiative was championed by the then president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, and agreed to by the governments of the respective participating nations.


The Puebla-Panama Plan was first announced by Mexico's President Vicente Fox on March 12, 2001 and officially launched on June 15, 2001.

In March 2004, Fox officially announced the relaunch of the PPP. Among the changes made were a new emphasis on the aspects of the plan relating to social concerns.

After Felipe Calderón was elected president, he continued the project. He had been a proponent of the Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project which was now merged with a similar funding and infrastructure project, the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP).

The Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project was launched in 2008 by the Heads of State and Government of Colombia, Mexico and Central America during the X Summit of the Tuxtla Dialogue and Consultation Mechanism, thus becoming the technical instance for cooperation and integration within this mechanism.

Calderón expanded the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project, now including Colombia,[4] and has stated that "the challenge (of the mechanism) is to foster democratic practices with solid foundation in the region".

It's goals and financing[]

The objective of Mesoamerica Project is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the region’s population through social and economic development projects, based on sustainable development and integration through the delivery of regional public goods.

The work of the mechanism targets two main pillars in nine strategic sectors:

Economic Development Projects

· Transport

· Energy

· Telecommunications

· Trade facilitation and competitiveness

Social Development Projects

· Health

· Disaster risk management

· Environment

· Housing

· Food & nutrition security

The Mesoamerica Project has an innovative form of financing for the projects it supports, including contributions from each of its Member States, funds from Mesoamerican regional agencies, traditional aid, south south and triangular cooperation, as well as public-private partnerships.

Economic Projects

1. Transport

• The International Network of Mesoamerican Highway (RICAM)

• The Mesoamerican Integration Corridor (CMI)

• The Regional Bridges Programme

• Short Sea Shipping Maritime Transport (TMCD) in Mesoamerica

2. Energy

• Central America Electrical Interconnection System (SIEPAC)

• Electrical interconnection Mexico-Guatemala

• Electrical interconnection Panama-Colombia

• Efficient Lighting Strategy in Central America

• The Mesoamerican Network for Research and Development of Biofuels (RMIDB) integrated by academia representatives from member states.

3. Telecommunications

• The Mesoamerican Information Highway (AMI)

4. Trade Facilitation and competitiveness

• International Transit of Goods (TIM)

• Increased competitiveness and support for SMEs

• Mesoamerican Program for Coordinated Border Management (includes Authorized Economic Operators and One-Stop Shop mechanisms)

Social Projects focused on sustainable development

1. Health

Aims to attend priority areas in health for the region: vaccination, nutrition, maternal health and vector-transmitted diseases, through coordination with the Mesoamerican Public-Health System (SMSP) and the Mesoamerican 2015 Health Initiative.

2. Disaster risk management

Contributes to sustainable development in the region, with specific projects on climate change, sustainable competitiveness, biodiversity and forests implemented through the Mesoamerican Environmental Sustainability Strategy (EMSA).

3. Environment

Seeks to strengthen capacities of national agencies for civil protection, risk management and decision-making, using a harmonized IT platform for the analysis of threats and vulnerabilities, through:

• The Mesoamerican Comprehensive Risk Management Network (RM-GIR).

4. Housing

The objective is to contribute to the consolidation of a long-term and sustainable market to finance low-cost housing, help to resolve the housing backlog in the region by offering loans, addressed on the one hand to purchases, and on the other, to home maintenance, improvements and extensions, and to provide political impulse to land-use regulation and the improvement of city districts, through:

• The Central American Social Housing Development Program.

5. Food security and nutrition

Mesoamerica Against Hunger is a regional intervention implemented by FAO in order to strengthen food security and reduce hunger in highly vulnerable populations if the region.


Current members[]

  1. Guatemala 1991.
  2. El Salvador 1991.
  3. Honduras 1991.
  4. Nicaragua 1991.
  5. Costa Rica 1991.
  6. Panama 1991.
  7. Belize joined in 2000.
  8. Dominican Republic 2013.

Expatiation plans[]

  1. Mexico? It is currently an observer.
  2. Cuba? It is currently not interested.

5 awesome CAIS national images![]


Also see[]

  1. EU
  2. UN
  3. EBU
  4. GDR
  5. FRG
  6. EFTA
  7. GCC
  8. NATO
  9. OECD
  10. USSR
  11. OPEC
  12. ASEAN
  13. Euronews
  14. ECOWAS
  16. Arab League
  17. Warsaw Pact
  18. Council of Europe
  19. Gulf Co-operation Council
  20. Central America and the Caribbean
  21. Council for Mutual Economic Assistance


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  2. http://www.proyectomesoamerica.org/
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20071029105130/http://www.planpuebla-panama.org/
  4. http://portal2.sre.gob.mx/ppp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=21
  5. http://www.rootforce.org
  6. http://www.iadb.org/ppp
  7. http://www.americas.org/item_10043
  8. http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/16.html
  9. http://www.iadb.org/
  10. http://www.sgsica-ny.org/
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Costa_Rica_Free_Trade_Agreement
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Central_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic%E2%80%93Central_America_Free_Trade_Agreement
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Central_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
  15. https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/tdst/tdo/crtr.html?naArea=9999&searchType=All&hSelectedCodes=%7C170220&productType=HS6&reportType=TB&timePeriod=5%7CComplete+Years&currency=CDN&toFromCountry=CDN&countryList=specific&areaCodes=845&grouped=GROUPED&runReport=true
  16. http://www.bcie.org/english/index.php
  17. http://www.ccj.org.ni/
  18. http://www.worldcourts.com/cacj/eng/timeline.htm
  19. http://www.pict-pcti.org/courts/CACJ.html
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Central_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic%E2%80%93Central_America_Free_Trade_Agreement
  22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Central_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
  23. http://www.un.org/en/members/intergovorg.shtml
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_American_Integration_System
  25. https://www.el19digital.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=36949&Itemid=12
  26. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/nt/548/548071/548071en.pdf
  27. http://www.iustel.com/v2/revistas/detalle_revista.asp?id=13
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_American_Parliament
  29. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Central-American-Common-Market
  30. http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/central-american-common-market.html
  31. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Central-American-Common-Market
  32. http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/central-american-common-market.html
  33. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama%E2%80%93United_States_Trade_Promotion_Agreement
  34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerica_Project
  35. http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/ca/index.htm
  36. https://web.archive.org/web/20060622023032/http://ec.europa.eu:80/comm/external_relations/ca/index.htm