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Posted: 8/31/2004 4:13:03 PM EST
Some intresting reading, anyone?

www.ftaa-alca.org/alca_e.asp
Link Posted: 8/31/2004 4:18:50 PM EST
MINISTERIAL DECLARATION


INTRODUCTION

1. We, the Ministers Responsible for Trade in the Hemisphere, representing the 34 countries participating in the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) held our Eighth Ministerial Meeting in Miami, United States of America, on November 20-21, 2003, in order to provide guidance for the final phase of the FTAA negotiations.


2. We recognize the significant contribution that economic integration, including the FTAA, will make to the attainment of the objectives established in the Summit of the Americas process: strengthening democracy, creating prosperity and realizing human potential. We reiterate that the negotiation of the FTAA will continue to take into account the broad social and economic agenda contained in the Miami, Santiago and Quebec City Declarations and Plans of Action with a view to contributing to raising living standards, increasing employment, improving the working conditions of all people in the Americas, strengthening social dialogue and social protection, improving the levels of health and education and better protecting the environment. We reaffirm the need to respect and value cultural diversity as set forth in the 2001 Summit of the Americas Declaration and Plan of Action.


3. We reiterate that the FTAA can co-exist with bilateral and sub-regional agreements, to the extent that the rights and obligations under these agreements are not covered by or go beyond the rights and obligations of the FTAA. We also reaffirm that the FTAA will be consistent with the rules and disciplines of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


4. Commitments assumed by the countries of the FTAA must be consistent with the principles of the sovereignty of States and the respective constitutional texts.


The Vision of the FTAA


5. We, the Ministers, reaffirm our commitment to the successful conclusion of the FTAA negotiations by January 2005*, with the ultimate goal of achieving an area of free trade and regional integration. The Ministers reaffirm their commitment to a comprehensive and balanced FTAA that will most effectively foster economic growth, the reduction of poverty, development, and integration through trade liberalization. Ministers also recognize the need for flexibility to take into account the needs and sensitivities of all FTAA partners.

Link Posted: 8/31/2004 4:21:41 PM EST
6. We are mindful that negotiations must aim at a balanced agreement that addresses the issue of differences in the levels of development and size of economies of the hemisphere, through various provisions and mechanisms.


7. Taking into account and acknowledging existing mandates, Ministers recognize that countries may assume different levels of commitments. We will seek to develop a common and balanced set of rights and obligations applicable to all countries. In addition, negotiations should allow for countries that so choose, within the FTAA, to agree to additional obligations and benefits. One possible course of action would be for these countries to conduct plurilateral negotiations within the FTAA to define the obligations in the respective individual areas.


8. We fully expect that this endeavor will result in an appropriate balance of rights and obligations where countries reap the benefits of their respective commitments.


General Instructions


9. The Agreement will include measures in each negotiating discipline, and horizontal measures, as appropriate, that take into account the differences in the levels of development and the size of the economies, and are capable of implementation. Special attention will be given to the needs, economic conditions (including transition costs and possible internal dislocations) and opportunities of smaller economies, to ensure their full participation in the FTAA process.


10. We instruct the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) to develop a common and balanced set of rights and obligations applicable to all countries. The negotiations on the common set of rights and obligations will include provisions in each of the following negotiating areas: market access; agriculture; services; investment; government procurement; intellectual property; competition policy; subsidies, antidumping, and countervailing duties; and dispute settlement. On a plurilateral basis, interested parties may choose to develop additional liberalization and disciplines. The TNC shall establish procedures for these negotiations that shall, among other things, provide that: countries negotiating additional obligations and benefits within the FTAA shall notify the Co-Chairs of their intention to do so before the outset of the negotiations; and any country not choosing to do so may attend as an observer of those additional negotiations. Observers, by notifying the Co-Chairs, may become participants in these negotiations at any time thereafter. The results of the negotiations must be WTO compliant. These instructions are to be delivered by the TNC to the Negotiating Groups and the Technical Committee on Institutional Issues (TCI), no later than the seventeenth meeting of the TNC to enable the negotiations to proceed simultaneously and to be completed according to the schedule.


Guidance on text issues


11. We instruct the TCI to present to the eighteenth TNC meeting its draft text as well as its recommendations on the institutions required to implement the FTAA Agreement, including proposals on the funding mechanisms, the administrative rules and the implications for human resources for the functioning of the institutional structure of the FTAA Agreement.


12. We direct the TCI with due regard to the provisions contained in this Declaration to provide to the TNC, as soon as possible, a proposal on the process for finalizing the agreement. This proposal shall contain, inter alia, specific steps, including legal review, translation, verification and authentication, necessary to finalize the text of the agreement, as well as the process and timetable for the completion of those steps.


Guidance on market access negotiations


13. We instruct that the negotiations on market access be conducted at a pace that will lead to the conclusion of those negotiations by September 30, 2004.

Link Posted: 8/31/2004 4:29:33 PM EST
Differences in levels of development and size of economies


14. We acknowledge the differences in the levels of development and size of economies in the hemisphere and the importance of all the countries participating in the FTAA to attain economic growth, improved quality of life for their people, and balanced and sustained social and economic development for all its participants. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to take into account in designing the FTAA, the differences in levels of development and size of economies in the hemisphere to create opportunities for their full participation and increase their level of development. We will establish mechanisms that complement and enhance the measures that address differences in the level of development and size of economies, in particular smaller economies, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement and to maximize the benefits that can be derived from the FTAA. Such measures shall include but not be limited to technical assistance and transitional measures including longer adjustment periods.


15. We take note of the TNC Report on the results of the progress achieved in relation to the treatment of differences in the levels of development and the size of economies in each of the Negotiating Groups, and we instruct these entities to continue their work on this issue. We have made this report available to the public on the official FTAA website. We note with concern that while text negotiations have progressed, proposals aimed at giving expression to treatment of the differences in levels of development and size of economies are bracketed across all the negotiating disciplines. We therefore reiterate our instruction to the TNC and to all the negotiating groups, in particular those undertaking market access negotiations, to translate this principle into specific measures so that they are reflected in the results of the negotiations. We instruct the Consultative Group on Smaller Economies (CGSE) to keep this report up to date, with the support of the Tripartite Committee, and to submit it to us at our next meeting.


16. With a view to providing appropriate follow-up of the activities underway within the CGSE and in order to achieve the full participation of all countries in the FTAA, we instruct the CGSE to make recommendations to the TNC, at its next meeting and in coordination with the TCI, on the characteristics of a Permanent Committee on the application of the treatment of differences in the level of development and size of economies so that it forms part of the institutional framework of the FTAA.


Hemispheric Cooperation Program


17. We recognize that trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the reduction of poverty. Therefore, we underscore that the commitment of countries to integrate trade into their national development plans, such as Poverty Reduction Strategies, is central to ensuring the role of trade in development and securing increased trade-related assistance in the region.


18. We recognize that smaller and less developed economies will require financial support to assist in the process of adjustment resulting from hemispheric integration. We therefore instruct the CGSE, based on its current work on the subject and with the support of the Tripartite Committee, to present recommendations to the TNC at its eighteenth meeting on financing methods and facilities to address the adjustment needs resulting from the differences in the levels of development and size of the economies of the hemisphere.


19. We welcome the efforts of the CGSE, with the assistance of the Tripartite Committee, to implement the Hemispheric Cooperation Program (HCP). Important steps took place at the Washington, D.C. meeting on October 14 and 15, hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with relevant donor institutions and in the preparation of trade capacity building strategies (TCB) by governments, which were the focus of discussion at the donors’ roundtable. These strategies are critical to identifying effective programs and appropriate funding sources. These steps constitute a beginning to the process of enhancing the capacity of the countries that are seeking assistance to complete negotiation of the FTAA Agreement, prepare to implement its terms, and to enhance their capacity to trade, and successfully adapt to integration.


20. Based on the discussions and the TNC Report on progress in the implementation of the HCP and the initial meeting with donors, we encourage the countries with the help of the Tripartite Committee to finalize the TCB strategies as appropriate and to organize sub-regional meetings with donors to continue discussions on the TCB strategies. The first sub-regional meetings with donors should be held within four to six months.


21. We reiterate our agreement at Quito that the HCP will respond to the immediate assistance needs for the purpose of strengthening the participation of countries in the negotiations. We note with concern the slow progress in addressing these immediate needs and call on the donor community to urgently provide predictable and multifaceted financial and non-financial support, in particular non-reimbursable financing, for meeting the objectives and capacity-building priorities set out in the national and sub-regional capacity building strategies and action plans under the HCP. In this connection, we welcome the contributions, including non-reimbursable financing, already made.


22. We also instruct the TNC with the support of the CGSE to further develop the HCP by identifying the modalities and procedures for the management and implementation of the HCP once the FTAA negotiations are completed. We instruct the CGSE to report to the TNC throughout the year on progress under the HCP. We have made the TNC Report on the Implementation of the HCP available to the public on the official FTAA website.

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