|Central American Common Market|
Central American Common Market (CACM), Spanish Mercado Común Centroamericano (MCCA), association of five Central American nations that was formed to facilitate regional economic development through free trade and economic integration. Established by the General Treaty on Central American Economic Integration signed by Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in December 1960, its membership expanded to include Costa Rica in July 1962. The CACM is headquartered in Guatemala City.
The Central American Economic Council, the group’s chief policy-making organ, meets every three months. Composed of economic ministers, it coordinates regional economic integration. The council elects a secretary-general, who serves a three-year term.
The CACM was formed in response to the need of member countries to cooperate with each other to attract industrial capital and diversify their economies. By the late 1960s the CACM had made considerable progress in expanding commerce and manufacturing in the region. Many trade barriers between its member states were eliminated or reduced, and between 1961 and 1968 trade among them increased to a figure seven times its previous level. In 1969, however, Honduras and El Salvador broke off commercial and diplomatic relations during their so-called “Soccer War.” After blocking El Salvador’s access to the Pan-American Highway, Honduras virtually withdrew from the CACM in early 1971 and imposed tariffs on imports from the other common-market countries. Despite growing discontent, the other members agreed to continue the CACM until Guatemala imposed many restrictions on regional trade in 1983. Because of internal political instability and violence in some member countries and mounting debt and protectionist pressures, the CACM suspended its activities in the mid-1980s.
|Reference: Encyclopedia Britannica|