The State of Central American Intergration
In January, 2009, Central American leaders met in Managua in a bid to cap economic crisis through unity. The leaders resolved to strengthen the SICA (Central American Integration System). To achieve this, the leaders proposed two strategies aimed at making the regional integration stronger. To begin with, Nicaragua signed a bilateral protocol for a regional free-trade with Panama, also, the president of Salvador announced the border between his country and Guatemala will be the first to implement the Central American Customs Union of free-trade. Central American integration will only be achieved through the free movement of goods and people across the borders, therefore, the president hoped that other countries will join on board to make this process run smoothly. However, economist admits that Central American integration has to be ready for new international challenges. The Puebla-Panama plan (PPP), launched in 2001 was the foundation of the Central American integration (Rodgers, 2009).
As pointed out by Porter (2011), the Central American integration has gained desired pace, as compared to the rest of the world. One of the major catalysts of the regional integration was the CAFTA (Central American free Trade Agreement) with the United States. Consequently, the intraregional trade grew by 40% within three years, according to SIECA (Secretary of Central American Integration). For instance, the intraregional trade grew up to $5.5 billion. As much as the United States is considered as the key trading partner with the Central American countries, there has been a notion that the Central America would surpass the United States to become a leading trade partner in the coming future. This is based on the rising number of trade volume within Central American countries. In essence, the article by Rodgers relates to the theme of the chapter “Central America: The Search for Unity” by Montalban in the sense that that the authors are explaining the processes of unity and initiatives of regional integration in Central America. In short, both authors have presented the historical perspective of unity initiatives for CA and the status of these initiatives at the moment.