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I never before have had such a firsthand glimpse, or rather, a numbingly painful stare, into how difficult it is to do business here. To start, a few figures on the number of hours and cost to get permits:
Registro Sanitario or “Health Registry” for food products:
4 hours plus waiting time according to shelf life of product, in my case 3 months in the lab, plus processing time at the appropriate ministry.
$500 per product
Operating Permit from Ministry of Health
Tax ID Number
15 minutes, but only because the company is held in my wife’s name. For a foreigner, I would have had to have waited months until my visa was processed.
$24 fire extinguisher
I must have chosen an exceptionally difficult sector to start up in as well as food items are so highly “regulated.” Costs and time can beat you down. It become more than obvious that the number of permits needed to start a legitimate business makes entering the market place an option for only a few. Time and cost make it impossible for many, if not most. The only saving grace I can say is that once you are in and have established yourself, it’s fairly tough for someone else to come along and compete with you.
If I hadn’t come with some idea already about how difficult it is to do business here, I would never have lasted.