|Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA|
FTAA - COMMITTEE
OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
CONTRIBUTION IN RESPONSE TO THE OPEN AND ONGOING INVITATION
VI BUSINESS FORUM OF THE AMERICAS
In accordance with the agenda prepared by the chair the subject of market access was explored from the standpoints of non-tariff barriers, tariffs and safeguards mechanism. Special attention was paid to export subsidies and other practices that distort trade in agriculture. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and some issues of importance to the FTAA countries were also discussed. Trade facilitation measures were recommended.
We should underline the priority that the whole tariff universe should be considered in the negotiations. The reduction of the tariff peaks and high tariffs should be more quickly than tariffs in general.
There was consensus that the hemisphere should be declared a "subsidy-free zone", as a priority in establishing the FTAA.
With regard to other practices that distort agricultural trade, special stress was laid on state trading enterprises, the need to reduce domestic support measures that distort trade and the fact that food assistance should not displace the exports of the countries of the hemisphere.
There was agreement on adopting WTO's SPS Agreement and that should not be reopened.
The idea of a "single undertaking" and differentiated and most favored treatment for developing countries was reaffirmed.
As for the next round of WTO negotiations, all the countries of the hemisphere should take a common position. There was opposition lo renewing the "peace clause" and its was felt that the amber, blue and green box measures should be revised.
There was a disagreement in concepts regarding the tariff reduction process.
The FTAA negotiations should seek
equal treatment of trade on agricultural products in relation to other
goods. Agriculture in the FTAA should incorporate and deepen the
disciplines of the WTO Agricultural Agreement, meaning that the
agricultural chapter of the FTAA should contemplate advances in regard to
the multilateral disciplines (WTO Plus). In this sense, it should
prescribe a treatment in the FTAA for all those subjects listed in the WTO
Agricultural Agreement, regardless the new negotiations at the
1. Nontariff barriers
a. A standstill clause should be agreed previously to the beginning of the FTAA negotiations.
a. The whole tariff universe should be considered in the negotiations.
b. The base tariff should be defined at the beginning of the tariff negotiations.
c. Differentiated treatment may be established for sensitive products.
d. A timetable for tariff reduction should be established keeping in mind the differences in market size and relative development of the economies of the country of the hemisphere.
e. Developing countries should be allowed sufficient time -no less than the time granted by WTO- to implement their tariff reduction commitments.
f. Tariff peaks should be reduced more quickly than tariffs in general, for both ad-valorem and specific tariffs.
g. High tariffs should be reduced more quickly, until they are comparable with the other tariffs.
h. Tariff escalation for products with value added in each production chain should be eliminated.
i. Minimum access quotas should be increased until they are eliminated, as the final objective.
j. A common nomenclature should be adopted based on the 1996 Harmonized System, to a minimum of eight digits.
k. A standstill clause should be agreed previously to the beginning of the FTAA negotiations.
3. Rules of origin
a. Rules and certifications of origin for agricultural should be adopted in step with market access group.
a. Adopt the WTO's general safeguard mechanism.
b. Analyze a special safeguards system for agricultural within the framework of the FTAA.
5. Export Subsidies
a. Completely eliminate export subsidies on intra-zonal trade.
b. It 5 recommended the analysis of measures regarding exports credits and export guarantees to assure that their application is not a distortion to the agricultural trade.
c. Develop mechanisms to neutralize the impact of imports of subsidized agricultural products originating outside the zone.
d. Apply countervailing duties when there are subsidized imports form third countries.
e. Declare the hemisphere a "subsidy-free zone", as a priority objective in establishing the FTAA.
f. For the purposes of neutralizing the damage caused to the FTAA member countries by export subsidies to third markets, the "Peace Clause" set forth in the WTO Agricultural Agreement should not be renewed.
6. Other practices that distort trade in agriculture
a. Domestic support for production that distorts trade in agriculture should be cut back.
b. For the purposes of neutralizing the damage caused to the FTAA member countries by domestic support measures which have a distorting affect on agricultural products trade, the "Peace Clause" set forth in the WTO Agricultural Agreement should not be renewed.
c. Greater transparency and discipline should be established in the treatment of food aid so that it does not displace the exports of FTAA member countries to third countries.
d. State trade enterprises should be subject to stricter and more transparent discipline in order to avoid monopolistic practices or trade distortions.
e. Domestic regulations in each country that distort agricultural production and trade should be eliminated.
7. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS)
a. The WTO's SPS Agreement should be adopted.
b. The WTO's SPS Agreement should not be reopened
c. In the event an SPS Agreement is established for the hemisphere, it should be consistent with the WTO's SPS Agreement.
d. Do not allow health and phytosanitary certification requirements to become nontariff barriers.
8. General considerations
a. The concept that a "single undertaking" should be applies in FTAA negotiations is affirmed.
b. The term for FTAA negotiations should not exceed the next WTO Round and the maximum should be the year 2005.
c. Establish, in general, differentiated and most favored treatment for developing countries.
d. All the countries in the hemisphere should try to take common positions in multilateral negotiations in the WTO.
e. Do not renew the WTO "peace clause”.
f. Treatment of the amber, blue and green box measures should be revised under the frame of the VVTO to ensure they do not cause distortions in agricultural production or trade.
g. The progress made in multilateral negotiations on agriculture should be gradually incorporated into the FTAA negotiations.
h. The FTAA member countries support the trade on agricultural products obtained by biotechnology.
i. The FTAA member countries suggest
studies to ensure the trade of products originated from green houses
BUSINESS FACILITATION MEASURES
1. Continue to prepare and improve the inventories of nontariff and tariff (ad-valorem and specific) barriers, safeguards, export subsidies, and other practices that distort trade in agriculture and which have similar effects to subsidies, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
2. Establish a methodology for their
registration, monitoring and compliance.
AREAS OF DIVERGENCE
The following divergences points were identified:
a. The tariff reduction process should be conditioned to a previous and verified elimination process of exports subsidies and domestic support measures that distort trade of agriculture products.
b. The tariff elimination process should be conditioned to the prior elimination of non-tariff restrictions.
c. There was no agreement regarding the process of
tariff reduction period.
President: Gilman Viana Rodrigues (Brasil)
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