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Octobert 4, 2003

 Original: English
Translation: FTAA Secretariat




At the Seventh FTAA Ministerial meeting in Quito, Ecuador in November 2002, Ministers instructed the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society (SOC) to “strengthen and deepen their consultations with civil society at the national level,” and “identify and foster the use of best practices for outreach and consultation with civil society.” (Paragraph 33, Quito Ministerial Declaration).

At the Thirteenth FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) meeting in Puebla, Mexico in April 2003, Vice Ministers further directed the SOC to “develop a document on best practices for disseminating information to civil society to increase their participation in the FTAA process at the national and/or regional levels for consideration by the TNC,” (FTAA.TNC/22). Reiterated at the Fourteenth TNC meeting in San Salvador, El Salvador in July 2003 (FTAA.TNC/23).

Consistent with these mandates, delegations have provided illustrative examples of national and/or regional consultation and outreach activities that have been undertaken and/or are planned. .

The SOC has identified the common elements among these submissions. These common elements are considered “best practices” as they reflect the strategies and activities implemented by FTAA members irrespective of the differences in the size of their economies and their level of development.

The following are examples of best practices. This list is descriptive and not exhaustive.

  • Advisory Bodies: Establish advisory bodies or other consultative mechanisms that consist of representatives from broad sectors of civil society (businesses, unions, academics, NGOs, etc.). These institutional mechanisms are permanent or ad-hoc, and they meet periodically in order to review the progress of the FTAA negotiations, analyze/study specific governmental policies and proposals, and provide input/advice to the government.

  • Public Events: Organize public events (conferences, workshops, seminars, forums, etc.) periodically and in various locations in order to raise awareness, consult, discuss and debate about various FTAA issues of interest to the general public and/or to specific sectors, which are open to civil society and to citizens.

  • Meetings: Hold meetings with interested stakeholders (individuals or groups) for information exchange and/or consultation purposes: i.e. to identify and interpret the sensitivities and interests of the different sectors affected and/or interested in the FTAA negotiations.

  • Parliamentarians: Engage in an ongoing and open dialogue with parliamentarians throughout the FTAA negotiating process, via the participation of public officials in parliamentary committee hearings, seminars, working groups, and the like.

  • Information Material: Develop documents on a periodic basis (e.g. weekly bulletins) to educate and create awareness among stakeholders by providing general information about the FTAA negotiations, updates on the status of the negotiations, etc.

  • Electronic Information Networks: Use web sites and electronic mail to disseminate relevant, accurate and timely information related to the FTAA process. These networks provide access to key documents about the FTAA, announce the holding of public events, and include press releases, speeches, as well as media advisories. They also provide a feedback mechanism in order to receive comments and queries from interested parties.

  • Official newspapers: Issue invitations and other notices in official newspapers (e.g. Gazette, Federal Register) in order to inform the public about key governmental initiatives related to the FTAA.

  • Other Communication Tools: Share key information with civil society through letters, print media (e.g. local newspapers) and third-party publications (e.g. business journals, NGO newsletters, etc.), radio, television, and via the participation of government officials in various events organized by non-governmental entities.

Annexed to this document you can find additional information on best practices and illustrative examples of consultations with civil society at the national/regional level, as provided by delegations.

National experiences as presented by delegations, to date:


The Government of Argentina uses various mechanisms for consultation and communication with civil society as a means to strengthen the participation of the latter in the FTAA process. It publicizes Open Invitations to Civil Society, both in the Official Gazette and on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs web page, so that contributions for the FTAA process may then be submitted to the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society. The Argentine government also has four permanent consultative mechanisms with various sectors of civil society: the Mercosur Economic and Social Consultative Forum, the International Trade Council, the Civil Society Consultative Council, and the Parliamentary Working Group. The first, second, and fourth entity mentioned above meet monthly to analyze the development of trade negotiations, while the third also meets monthly to review progress made in the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas. In addition to these four mechanisms, the Government of Argentina conducts periodic consultations on various aspects of hemispheric negotiations by issuing calls for meetings and public forums to hold timely discussions on issues of interest in various sectors of national life. For example, on 6 August 2002, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina invited the business sector to report on market access negotiations and to request contributions from the private sector on that issue. Some 140 people representing 97 entities took part in the meeting, which resulted in more than 70 contributions from the business sector.


The Government of the Bahamas has taken a variety of measures at the national level to consult with civil society on the FTAA process and the possible implications of the proposed agreement for The Bahamas. These have included publicizing the Open Invitations to Civil Society through the local print media and through drawing the attention of the public to the information available through the FTAA’s official Web Site. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts a series of monthly meetings with representatives of civil society organizations on issues pertinent to the FTAA negotiations. Emerging from this forum, a central association of representatives from diverse sectors of civil society has been established for the purpose of maintaining an ongoing dialogue with the Government on the FTAA and other related matters.

A regional conference on the FTAA sponsored by the Trade Union Congress of The Bahamas was held in October, 2002. Government Ministers, Bahamian FTAA negotiators, other government officials and members of the wider civil society took part in this event. There has been similar involvement in various other conferences and seminars sponsored nationally by the Government itself - through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and through the Central Bank of The Bahamas - and by private sector, academic, religious and other groups. Government Ministers and FTAA negotiators also appear on television, on radio talk shows and at meetings of service clubs and other special interest groups to discuss the FTAA. These events receive wide coverage in the local print and electronic media.

A particularly important initiative on the part of the Government of The Bahamas was the appointment, in December, 2002, of the Bahamas Commission on Trade, a body whose members are drawn from both the public and private sectors, as well as from various segments of civil society. A significant aspect of the Commission’s mandate is to study and discuss widely with the Bahamian public matters related to the FTAA and, based on these measures, to provide feedback to negotiators and advice to the Government. In order to fulfill these responsibilities more effectively, sub-committees of the Commission have been established to parallel the negotiating groups and other committees of the FTAA. These committees also include FTAA negotiators who may not be members of the Commission itself, and other individuals drawn from relevant areas of the public and private sectors and civil society. Written invitations have also been extended to significant interest groups to submit their views directly to the Commission on matters related to trade liberalization.


The General Coordination of the FTAA Negotiations (COALCA), of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, uses its web page ( to disseminate information on the FTAA negotiations. This web page provides access to documents such as the Open Invitation to Hemispheric Civil Society and the entire initial offer of goods presented by MERCOSUR in the context of the FTAA negotiations. Comments and queries on the progress of the negotiations and positions adopted by the Government of Brazil may be addressed to the General Coordination at

In 1996, the Brazilian government created the National Coordination Unit on FTAA-Related Issues (SENALCA) as a coordination forum for Brazilian civil society on the FTAA negotiations. SENALCA comprises representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Chamber of Foreign Trade; the Central Bank; the ministries of Justice, Finance, and Health; the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply; the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade; and the Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management. In order to ensure broad representation of civil society in SENALCA meetings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invites representatives of other public entities and of various national economic and social sectors, including academia, parliamentarians, labor union and employer organizations, and members of non-governmental organizations. To date, SENALCA has held thirty-two meetings.”

The Government of Brazil also organizes seminars on the FTAA negotiations. The Parliamentary Summit for Hemispheric Integration took place from 18-20 November 2002 in Brasilia. Parliamentarians of Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay discussed the challenges in the hemispheric integration of the Americas project. Representatives of the United States, the Italian Parliament, the Joint Parliamentary Committee of MERCOSUR, the Andean Parliament, and PARLATINO, among others, were also in attendance. Additionally, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies organized the seminar “Brazil and the FTAA” (23-24 October 2001), in which fifty-two representatives of government and civil society discussed Brazil’s objectives and interests in the negotiations. Additional details regarding these seminars are provided in below.

On 14 March 2003, in Brasilia - DF, the Government of Brazil held a seminar on the issue of dispute settlement in the context of the WTO, FTAA, MERCOSUR, and MERCSOUR-European Union negotiations. In attendance were more than 150 participants, representing the government and production sectors, class associations, law firms, universities and study centers, labor confederations, and civil society in general. The event was divided into four parts (WTO, FTAA, MERCOSUR, and MERCOSUR-European Union, each having a speaker (Government) and two panelists (academic and private sector). In addition to the productive exchange of information among the participants, the seminar provided another opportunity to develop relations between government and civil society in the context of trade negotiations. The 14 March seminar should be given continuity through similar initiatives addressing more specific points in the context of the negotiations on dispute settlement. The seminar program and other relevant information is available at (path: Sites do MRE - CGC - Reunião sobre Solução de Controvérsias).

Next October 20 and 21, a Parliamentary Meeting on the FTAA, with the topic “The role of legislators in the FTAA”, will be held in Brasilia.


The Government of Canada is fully committed to civil society participation in the FTAA negotiations. In Canada’s view, openness and transparency are key to an informed debate about this hemispheric initiative. Effective two-way communication channels between governments and citizens are vital to increase their understanding of free trade, and to build broad public support and confidence for trade negotiations and agreements. To that end, the Government of Canada, mainly through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, uses a range of permanent and ad-hoc consultative and outreach mechanisms and strategies to ensure that the views of industry, non-governmental groups, and Canadians at large are taken into account in the Canada’s trade policy agenda. These mechanisms include, but are not restricted to: the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Trade, the joint Government of Canada-Federation of Canadian Municipalities working group, the Sectoral Advisory Groups on International Trade, the Academic Advisory Council, as well as Multistakeholder Information and Consultations Sessions. In addition to these mechanisms, the Government of Canada also uses every opportunity to work with Canadian parliamentarians and with our trading partners with a view to strengthen public engagement at home and increase civil society participation within inter-governmental forums and entities. Consultations are productive and rewarding only if citizens are kept up-to-date and engaged on an ongoing and sustained basis with respect to Canada’s trade development and outcomes. The Government of Canada informs Canadians and solicits input on trade policy matters through the Trade Negotiations and Agreements website (,  which includes, inter alia: the draft consolidated FTAA negotiating text with a description of each chapter of the agreement; Canada’s positions and proposals in these negotiations, and notably our market access offers; frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and answers; an information kit; a list of key Government of Canada FTAA negotiators, with their contact information; and consultation notices. The input of interested parties is facilitate via the following email address:


CARICOM has a long tradition of consultation with members of civil society at the national and regional levels and has developed a number of regional mechanisms, which facilitate ongoing dialogue with civil society on a range of issues, including the FTAA negotiations. The CARICOM Charter on Civil Society adopted by CARICOM Heads of Government in 1997 provides the platform for dialogue with civil society at the national level and in the various organs of the Community, namely the Conference of Heads of Government, the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), and the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), in order to engage major stakeholders on matters of trade policy, social policy and the overall development of the Community. The Caribbean Regional Machinery, the negotiating arm of CARICOM, has also established mechanisms such as Technical Working Groups, and a Private Sector Liaison Committee, which facilitate technical consultation and exchange of information with the private sector and civil society in general on developments within the negotiations. Other tools include a weekly electronic newsletter on trade negotiations issues as well as regular regional seminars with different groups of civil society such as media workers and labor unions.


International trade policy has been the centerpiece of Chile’s economic development. Given its relatively small domestic market, Chile’s economic development potential depends directly on the successful application of the export development model, since the country’s foreign trade accounts for more than 50 percent of GDP, and for more than 70 percent thereof including the services sector. It is in this context that Chile has negotiated trade agreements with its main trading partners. For trade agreements to have meaning and political legitimacy in the medium- and long-term, and to contribute to the country’s general prosperity, negotiators must appropriately consider the proposals and concerns of civil society regarding the negotiating themes and provide information on the negotiation process.

In every one of its trade negotiations, Chile has engaged in ongoing consultations with its business sector, so as to identify and adequately interpret the sensitivities and interests of the different production sectors included in the offers and negotiations, particularly in the area of tariffs and rules of origin. Beginning in the mid-1990s, other sectors were incorporated into the consultations process, when the Office of International Economic Relations (DIRECON), of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, launched a dialogue on international trade negotiations with various civil society organizations (academic and professional associations, trade unions, and NGOs).

This dialogue began with the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Chile and Canada (1995-1996), which was complemented by the signing of separate environmental cooperation and labor agreements. The dialogue was subsequently intensified with the start of the FTAA negotiations, the work of the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society, and in the wake of the Seattle Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Against this backdrop, the Government of Chile disseminated the First Open Invitation of the FTAA Civil Society Committee in 1999, sending letters to different non-governmental organizations and institutions, and through the press and its websites. Civil society organizations were called upon to submit written presentations on FTAA-related issues.

In 2000, under the administration of President Lagos, and with a new emphasis on the need for dialogue with civil society at all levels of government pursuant to presidential instructions issued in this regard, the FTAA expanded its open invitation. More notices were placed in newspapers, government authorities increased public activities, and information was made available on the FTAA negotiating process, and on joint initiatives with interested sectors of civil society.

Special mention must be made of Chile’s efforts to develop the website of the Office for International Economic Relations, (DIRECON), at According to the first-quarter report for 2003, not only has this web site become an increasingly important work tool, but it also surpassed its record of 1,400,000 hits, with a total of 1,676,855 hits in April. Widespread use of the Internet has translated into an average 500,000 visits per month to Chilean government websites, the most popular being those related to economic agreements and foreign trade. The “Civil Society” section, the most popular on the site, highlights the importance of information in the political management of foreign trade.

Four open invitations to civil society were issued in 2001 and 2002, during which time Chile was involved in negotiations for the FTAA and for free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Seminars were also held in Santiago and other regions, some with trade unions or with other sectors of civil society, in order to make information on these negotiations increasingly accessible and also to foster contributions and comments from civil society. Participating in these activities were business organizations, as well as trade unions and other associations grouped by their respective activities. This approach was also used with the academic sector and NGOs. During negotiations with the United States, Chile, for the first time for this type of negotiation, set up three “side rooms” (for business, unions, and small- and medium-sized enterprises) to inform and consult with different sectors during the successive negotiation rounds. This process has continued, through the dissemination of the contents of the Treaties and the resulting opportunities created for the different sectors.

In order to achieve greater transparency in its foreign trade and international trade negotiations, Chile has adopted mechanisms such as the Ministerial Advisory Council, which comprises representatives of the various political sectors, trade associations, and parliamentarians who have submitted their views on international trade negotiations, without prejudice to governing constitutional procedure.

Finally, we wish to emphasize the importance of the following mechanisms, which promote consultations and participation:

  • the open and permanent invitation to the public to submit their views, concerns, and interests to negotiators;

  • ensuring that the different sectors of civil society are informed on the status of the negotiations, as well as on the potential impacts and the results thereof, by disseminating information on the institutional web page, in the media, and through seminars and workshops;

  • creating “side rooms” representing the various sectors at the most relevant negotiation meetings;

  • and taking steps towards the institutionalization of consultation and participation mechanisms.


The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism has furthered the FTAA negotiations by consistently coordinating the country’s position on each of the topics included in the process. It therefore set up the negotiating team to ensure that Colombia’s position reflects national interests and in response to the need to involve civil society in the negotiations in which the country is engaged within a tripartite arrangement that includes the public sector, the private sector, and academia.

In addition, throughout the negotiations, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, as coordinator of the international trade negotiations in which Colombia is taking part, has made a priority of using all available tools to provide ample information on the negotiating process through which the FTAA is to be created. The Ministry has, thus, been present at different trade union forums, congresses, and universities. The Ministry has also held seminars and meetings on the topic. At these events, the Ministry has informed the private sector on the progress and the scope of negotiations.

In keeping with the countries’ commitment to publicize the open invitation for civil society to submit contributions on the FTAA negotiations, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism has disseminated this invitation in a variety of ways.


In order to boost the participation of civil society in the FTAA process, the government of Costa Rica has set up a process for consultation, dialogue and information with the various sectors of civil society. This process functions basically on two levels. At the first level, there is the Foreign Trade Consultative Council, which was created by the Law on Negotiations and the Administration of Free Trade Treaties, Agreements and Instruments of Foreign Trade, of 21 November 2000. This Council is responsible for advising the Executive Branch of government on the definition of foreign trade and foreign investment policies and for promoting mechanisms for coordination and cooperation with the private sector so that those policies and trade negotiations are executed. The Council is chaired by the Foreign Trade Minister and consists of both public officials and representatives of the private sector.

The second level consists of the process of direct consultation with companies, professional associations, and other sectors of civil society, which in turn is divided into various levels and modalities of consultation and outreach: (a) open invitations issued in the official newspaper (‘La Gaceta’) for people to send in contributions regarding the FTAA process; (b) direct consultations with companies and professional associations. In 2002, for example, individual invitations were sent to over 900 companies and around 60 chambers of commerce and sectoral groups for distribution among their members; (c) an electronic information network called ‘Punto de Enlace Permanente’ (Permanent Connection Point-PEP by its Spanish acronym), which currently has 1,500 users who, on average, receive two weekly bulletins on the progress of the various negotiations underway; (d) periodic diffusion of specific information via Internet or electronic mail on markets and the status of the FTAA negotiations, among other things; (e) ongoing, open dialogue with the Legislative Assembly throughout the consultation and FTAA negotiation process; and (f) the organization of various Conference Cycles and other public events on FTAA issues.


The activities undertaken by the Government of Ecuador to foster the participation of civil society in the hemispheric negotiations of the FTAA include:

In order to inform the public and encourage as much debate as possible, the document entitled “Ecuador: General Guidelines for a Strategy for the Free Trade Area of the Americas” was published. Eight hundred copies of this publication have been distributed throughout the country to production federations and chambers, universities, trade unions, indigenous and Afro-American communities, social groups, professional associations, and non-governmental organizations. Several seminars and issue forums have been held in Quito and Guayaquil with the country’s production sectors, journalists, and universities. A brochure containing summarized information on the FTAA, which highlights the transparency of the process and describes the spaces for participation being developed, is currently being distributed. An e-mail address has been made available so that interested members of civil society may submit their comments and suggestions. Officials from the FTAA Unit are traveling to the country’s main cities to hold information sessions on the status of the negotiations.


The Government of Jamaica is fully supportive of the involvement of civil society in trade negotiations. It is recognised that it is business enterprises which carry out trade and not governments, therefore the input of the private sector in formulating negotiating positions is important. In the same manner, the society at large, the consumers, labour, academia etc. are an integral part of the process as they will be affected in one way or another by decisions made.

The Government of Jamaica has sought to inform and consult with civil society on a regular basis. In 1992 the Trade Coordination and Policy Committee (TCPC) was put in place to facilitate cooperation between the public and the private sectors. To further enhance civil society participation in the trade negotiations process a consultative mechanism was established in 2001 under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. This is the Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT).

JTAT is designed to deepen and widen the consultative process to include a wider cross-section of society, namely Jamaica’s private sector, non-governmental organisations, labour and academia. JTAT meets regularly as a body, and also convenes in smaller groups on specific issues on the trade agenda. The issues being addressed within the FTAA are therefore discussed and the differing positions from the various sectors considered.

JTAT assists in the policy formulation, designed to guide trade negotiations and in information dissemination to the wider public.

In addition to this consultative mechanism various events have been organised by the private sector and NGOs, which have been fora of information sharing and consultation.

The involvement of civil society in the technical and Ministerial meetings of CARICOM, has also facilitated the consultation process at the regional level. The different positions are aired, and if at all possible resolved and consolidated into regional positions.

The Government has communicated to the various sectors its interest in getting their views on matters and is open to receiving comments, concerns and interests for submission to negotiations.


The Mexican Government considers the participation of civil society in the negotiation process of the Free Trade Area of the Americas to be highly important. The dissemination of information and transparency regarding the development of this process have been essential elements for furthering such participation.

Within the framework of the FTAA negotiation process, the Mexican Government has intensified its dialogue and expanded its mechanisms for communication with civil society. Regular open meetings that allow for direct dialogue between government representatives and representatives of business and non-governmental organizations, as well as meetings with the academic sector, have formed the mainstay of civil society participation in the process.

These meetings and events have turned into true forums for information sharing and consultation and have enabled the Mexican Government to hear opinions, answer queries, and discover the expectations and needs of the various sectors that make up Mexican civil society. The participants in the meetings, for their part, have had the opportunity to learn about and discuss Mexico's official position with regard to the FTAA negotiations.

The organization of various events within the FTAA framework itself, such as the North American Regional Seminar, held in Merida, Mexico, on 18 July 2002, or the Meeting with Hemispheric Civil Society “Progress in the FTAA Negotiations”, held in Puebla, on 8 April 2003, in parallel with the Thirteenth Meeting of the FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee that was attended by the Vice Ministers of Trade of the hemisphere, have also contributed to the process of furthering dialogue with civil society.

Printed and electronic media have also played an important role in this process. Various open invitations to events held as forums for the participation of civil society have been issued through national newspapers. The web site of the Secretariat of the Economy ( has provided the general public with access to a wide range of information on the FTAA, from negotiation texts to negotiation principles and modalities, meeting schedules, etc.


The institutions involved in the process of setting up the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), under the General Coordination Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have agreed to create a system to disseminate information on international agenda issues that coordinates the interests of the various national sectors, including the private sector and organized sectors of society, by creating forums for dialogue to allow for the formulation of strategies related to Paraguay's foreign agenda and for defining the top-priority objectives shared between civil society and the government. As a result of the pursuit of this goal, new national strategies generated now and in the future will serve to direct public policies and guide community actions, linking them effectively to the international system.

In an effort to fulfill the mandate issued by the Ministers at Quito to improve the participation of civil society and strengthen the efforts of the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society (SOC), the Republic of Paraguay has organized various working meetings, roundtables, seminars, and debates, structured as issue meetings, with the private sector and society in general, on matters related to the economic integration processes in which Paraguay participates, and, particularly, the FTAA negotiation process.


As the entity responsible for international trade negotiations, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo - MINCETUR by its Spanish acronym) has been disseminating information on the FTAA negotiations currently underway to civil society on an ongoing basis.

MINCETUR has been using several mechanisms to carry out this task. Open Invitations to Hemispheric Civil Society were publicized on several mass communication media: the MINCETUR webpage and the print media, as well as through direct contact with different civil society members and institutions, under a participation strategy involving different sectors thereof, such as businesses, academia, and experts on specialized issues, among others.

Other relevant initiatives have also taken shape as a result of joint efforts between the private sector and other sectors of civil society, and the official sector. These include the FTAA/PERU Commission which, since 1998, has been bringing members of business associations and the academic sector together in working groups that correspond to the 9 FTAA negotiating themes, as well as in a group called “Business Vision of the Social Agenda”. Among other activities, this Commission coordinates and organizes the business sector’s participation in the business forums held parallel to the FTAA ministerial meetings, by organizing a national forum before each such meeting. This year, the national forum will be held in October, in light of the Miami Ministerial that is to be held in November.

Two working tables have also been set up, one to tackle environmental issues and the other for labor issues. These were set up at the initiative of the Peruvian Environmental Law Society (Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental -SPDA by its Spanish acronym) and the Labor Advisory Center of Peru (Centro de Asesoría Laboral del Perú -CEDAL by its Spanish acronym), respectively. Since their creation, these working tables have addressed the handling of these issues not only in the FTAA, but also in regional agreements and the multilateral WTO agreements, among others. They have promoted and organized discussion forums on topics of interest, including the FTAA negotiations. The environmental working table has also formulated recommendations on various subjects (investment, agriculture, intellectual property, and special and differential treatment) and one of its current objectives is to continue organizing workshops on specific issues. Although the working table on labor issues has not been meeting as regularly in 2003 as in previous years, efforts are underway to ensure it continues to function in the same constructive spirit that has characterized its work in the past.


The United States places a great deal of importance on outreach and consultations with domestic civil society throughout the course of trade negotiations, and employs several formal and informal consultative mechanisms to increase civil society awareness of and participation in the FTAA process. For example, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has issued several public notices in the Federal Register and on its website inviting any interested organization or member of the public to comment on all aspects of FTAA negotiations, and has also notified the public via Federal Register and the USTR website of the SOC’s Open and Ongoing Invitation to hemispheric civil society to comment on the FTAA. All civil society responses to the Federal Register are transmitted to U.S. trade negotiators and disseminated throughout the government so that civil society views may be taken into consideration in the development of U.S. positions, and all Federal Register responses are available for public inspection to promote transparency.

In addition to the issuance of Federal Register notices, the U.S. periodically holds public Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) hearings. Public TPSC hearings encourage civil society to provide oral testimony in addition to written comments on any issue related to the FTAA agreement. For example, on September 9-10 2002, the U.S. hosted a TPSC hearing on the effects of the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade and other market liberalization among FTAA participating countries. Sixty-three written responses were received from a broad range of groups representing agricultural, business, labor, environmental, consumer and other NGO interests. Thirty-three persons provided oral testimony on their written contributions to government officials from various U.S. agencies, including USTR and the Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, during the two-day public hearing. Such public hearings give civil society stakeholders the opportunity to express their views directly to government policymakers, and allow government officials to seek clarifications and further explanation in person in order to better understand the various positions expressed by civil society. Beyond formal public hearings, USTR also holds periodic public briefings on the FTAA with senior government officials that allow for open question and answer sessions, and may provide teleconference capacity for members of the public who cannot attend in person. A recent FTAA public briefing was held on July 24, 2003 in Washington, D.C.

The United States also maintains a statutory trade advisory committee system mandated by the U.S. Congress, currently consisting of 33 private sector advisory committees, which provide input and advice to the U.S. Government from the perspective of industry sectors, agricultural sectors, labor, environment, state and local governments, and other interests. USTR also frequently consults with Congress on the FTAA.



Additional information on best practices and illustrative examples of consultations with civil society at the national/regional level, as provided by delegations.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Culture of the Argentine Republic, through the Secretariat of International Trade and Economic Relations and its dependent institutions, is carrying out several activities to promote the participation of civil society in the trade negotiations.

These activities include: distribution of information on trade negotiations in which the Argentine Republic is involved, calls for briefings on the negotiation processes, timely consultations on issues of interest to civil society, and participation in seminars and workshops on trade negotiations. Furthermore, Argentina has established four institutional mechanisms for civil society participation: the Mercosur Economic and Social Consultative Forum, the International Trade Council, the Civil Society Consultative Council, and the Parliamentary Working Group.

The goal of these initiatives is to allow for follow-up and broad-based civil society participation in the architecture of Argentina’s position as it is presented in the various negotiations in which our country is involved.

Mercosur Economic and Social Consultative Forum

The Mercosur Economic and Social Consultative Forum, established in the Ouro Preto Protocol of December 1994, comprises representatives of various economic and social sectors of the four Mercosur Member States.

The national sections that compose the Forum are autonomous in their organization and may independently choose their participating entities. In the case of Argentina, the Forum consists of representatives of the Argentine Industrial Union, the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, the Argentine Rural Society, the General Confederation of Labor, and the Argentine Consumer Association (ADELCO).

The Forum acts as a consultative body and formulates recommendations for the Mercosur Common Market Group.

International Trade Council

The International Trade Council, created in November 2002 on the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, comprises representatives of 30 academic and business entities from the Argentine Republic.

The Council meets monthly with government officials responsible for trade negotiations and who represent the various government agencies that participate in these negotiations. Prior to each meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submits briefings on the status of trade negotiations, which are subsequently analyzed by the Council.

The Council fulfills consultative duties and submits its contributions to the Secretariat of Trade and International Economic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Civil Society Consultative Council

The Civil Society Consultative Council, created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina in December 2002, comprises representatives of 65 academic, business, union, and consumer entities, as well as non-governmental organizations, interested in the development of the negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

The Council meets monthly with government officials responsible for the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations and who represent the various government agencies that participating therein. The goal of the Council is to analyze the progress of the FTAA negotiations, through discussion on each of the substantive issues in the hemispheric process.

Prior to each meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributes the draft chapter corresponding to each FTAA entity, as well as a briefing on the position of Argentina and Mercosur on the issue being considered. Particpants may make contributions, suggestions, and comments regarding each of the negotiating themes.

The Council fulfills consultative duties and submits its contributions to the Directorate for North America and Hemispheric Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Parliamentary Working Group

The Parliamentary Working Group, created in December 2002 on the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, comprises legislators from the various committees of the legislative branch of government that work in trade negotiations: Foreign Affairs, Trade, Industry, Agriculture, Mercosur, Integration, and Trade Negotiations.

The Working Group meets monthly with trade negotiation officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. The goal of the Working Group is to conduct ongoing monitoring of the negotiations in which the Argentine Republic participates. Prior to each meeting, briefing documents on the status of trade negotiations are distributed.

Consultations and Distribution of Information

In addition to these institutional mechanisms to promote the participation of different sectors of civil society, the Government of Argentina has further opportunities to communicate with those sectors interested in trade negotiations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has posted permanent information on its web page about the country’s trade negotiations, including the FTAA Draft Agreements. Further information on these processes is available electronically and also published in the Official Gazette of the Argentine Republic.

Working meetings are also conducted to report on the progress of the negotiations and to request timely contributions from civil society on issues under consideration in each of the negotiating processes. Seminars and/or workshops are organized for different entities interested in the progress of the negotiations.

Finally, briefings and assessments are conducted before and after the Ministerial and the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) meetings of the FTAA. Similar meetings are held after the meetings of the FTAA Negotiating Groups in which sectors interested in the substantive negotiations issues of each entity participate.


As part of the Buenos Aires Ministerial Declaration, Ministers recognized the importance of maintaining an open and sustained dialogue with civil society. On that occasion, Ministers recognized the importance of the fora and seminars on FTAA negotiations that different civil society organizations have carried out in the countries of the region and invited them to present the conclusions of their work to the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society (Buenos Aires Ministerial Declaration, paragraph 30).

This commitment to recognize and encourage the organization of regional and national seminars related to the process of establishing the FTAA was reaffirmed in the Quito Ministerial Declaration, which also welcomed the presentations of the conclusions to the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society (Quito Ministerial Declaration, paragraph 32).

In light of this, the Brazilian Delegation would like to submit a summary report on the national seminar “Brazil and the FTAA”, organized by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, with the support of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations, on 23 and 24 October, 2001. The objective was to discuss the potential economic and social impact of the FTAA on Latin America, particularly Brazil, in light of the heterogeneity of social indicators, cultural heritage, economic development and levels of specialization of the States participating in this endeavor.

The seminar brought together a group of distinguished foreign and Brazilian authorities, academics, business people, union leaders and journalists representing a wide array of tendencies and opinions. The proceedings were open to participation by all sectors of Brazilian society. Over the course of two days, fifty-five speakers exchanged views and debated the diverse aspects of negotiating a free trade area in the Americas.

The meeting was subdivided into seven panel discussions encompassing such diverse questions as the ongoing processes of integration across the world; the experience of the North American Free Trade Agreement; market access, tariffs, barriers to trade and rules of origin; agriculture; services, investments and government procurement; financial services; telecommunications; labor and environmental standards; trade defense and competition policy; intellectual property and, finally, a general evaluation of the discussions.

The programs of the seminar and background information about the main speakers are attached.

Full transcripts of all the debates and additional background papers are contained in the book “Brazil and the FTAA”, which will be made available by Brazil to all delegations at the Administrative Secretariat.


Openness and transparency are fundamental to the way in which Canada approaches trade negotiations. The Government of Canada supports greater engagement with all the levels of government (provincial, territorial and municipal), as well as with parliamentarians, in the inter-American trade agenda. Canada’s position for all trade negotiations is developed by the Federal Government in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, and reflects the results of extensive consultations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), businesses and the general public. These consultations are an important part of the Government’s overall commitment to ensure that Canada’s position continues to reflect Canadian interests, values and priorities. The Government has made a concerted effort to engage in an open and informed dialogue with Canadian stakeholders through a range of consultation and outreach mechanisms and strategies, which are described below.

Trade Policy Consultation and Outreach Mechanisms and Strategies1


To assist elected officials with their obligation to inform and exchange views with their constituents on public policy issues, the Government of Canada ensures that the Canadian Parliament is fully informed and consulted about the FTAA negotiations. The Minister for International Trade as well as senior government officials are regularly invited to appear at hearings of relevant Senate and House Committees on the state of Canada’s trade policies, programs and proposals. Since the launch of the FTAA negotiations in 1998, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) has already conducted three studies (in 1999, 2001 and 2002) related to the FTAA. The SCFAIT reports were prepared after extensive public testimonies and they provide valuable direction and guidance to Canada’s trade negotiations. The Government Response to the latest of these Reports, entitled “Strengthening Canada’s Economic Links with the Americas”, was tabled in the House of Commons in October 2002 and is available to the public on the Trade Negotiations and Agreement website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Canadian parliamentarians also participate in information sessions and roundtable discussions.

Provinces and Territories:

Although the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government, trade agreements and dispute settlements increasingly address areas of provincial jurisdiction and require provincial implementation. Provincial and territorial governments are fully consulted on the identification of issues, development of strategies and positions during the preparations for and during the course of negotiations. The Federal Government maintains a close relationship with the provinces and territories in the area of international trade policy by means of a variety of different mechanisms. Federal, provincial and territorial officials participate in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Trade (C-Trade) which meets at least quarterly in order to exchange information, share perspectives and develop Canadian positions on a range of international trade policy issues, including negotiations. In addition to these regular meetings, Canadian Ministers responsible for trade as well as Deputy Ministers meet roughly once a year to develop further the cooperative relationship that exists with provinces and territories in trade policy, to update them on recent developments and to discuss further cooperation on key issues. The Government of Canada also maintains restricted federal-provincial-territorial websites, and schedules numerous conference calls with provinces/territories to facilitate the sharing of documents and current information.


Municipalities have expressed a growing interest in promoting increased trade and investment opportunities for their communities, and, more recently, in trade policy issues. Over the past year, the Government of Canada has been working hard to address the concerns of municipalities. A joint Government of Canada/Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) working group was established in November 2001. The working group provides an opportunity for information exchange, to hear the views of local governments through the FCM and build mutual understanding on issues of common interest. Further information on the relationship between the Government of Canada and Canadian municipalities with respect to trade negotiations and agreements can be found at:

Trade Negotiations and Agreements (TNA) Website

Since its launch in May 1999, the TNA website has been critical to the Government of Canada’s capacity to meet demands for greater information and public participation regarding Canada’s international trade agenda. The FTAA section of the TNA website ( provides Canadians with accessible, accurate, reliable and up-to-date information on the FTAA negotiations. It includes, inter alia, the draft consolidated FTAA negotiating text, Canada’s positions and proposals, frequently asked questions (FAQs), an information kit, a list of key government contacts, and consultation notices. Interested parties are encouraged to visit this website and send their comments to the Government on an ongoing basis. Recently, Canadians have been invited to submit their views on the FTAA market access negotiations for agricultural and non-agricultural goods, on government procurement, and on Canada’s Strategic Environmental Assessment of the FTAA. Moreover, Canada publicly released via this website its market access offers on services, investment and government procurement, as well as a summary of its market access offers for agricultural and non-agricultural goods.

Government of Canada Public Access Programs

In addition to the TNA website, and in keeping with its commitment to finding new and innovative ways to consult with and engage Canadians on public policy issues, the Government has created a single-window access to a listing of consultations from selected government departments and agencies. The “Consulting Canadians” pilot site can be accessed through the following link: The Government is also making greater use of Communications Canada’s customized information services, including free-of-charge 1-800 numbers and linkages via the Canada Site portal (  While it encourage the use of new technologies to reach Canadians, the Government continues to use the official Canada Gazette, as an instrument of public record, to post notices with a view to inform and elicit citizen’s comments on trade-related issues of importance to them.

Multistakeholder Information and Consultations Sessions

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, in partnership with other government departments and agencies, holds periodic information and consultation sessions with business and industry associations, NGOs and public interest groups; and the academic community to address issues of interest to a broad spectrum of Canadians, to which the Minister and the Deputy Minister for International Trade often participate, as well as parliamentarians engaged on the issues. The most recent multistakeholder consultation on the FTAA was held in Ottawa on 27 February 2003 and was Chaired by Mr. John Godfrey, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Inter-American Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) Working Group on the FTAA. A full report of this session can be viewed at

Sectoral Advisory Groups on International Trade (SAGITs)

Established in 1986, the Sectoral Advisory Groups on International Trade (SAGITs) are comprised of senior business executives with representation from industry associations, labour/environment, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia. Members are appointed for a two-year renewable term by the Minister for International Trade to whom they provide confidential advice on matters pertaining to the Government of Canada’s trade policy agenda. Members serve in their individual capacities and not as representatives of specific entities or interest groups. There are currently ten active SAGITs representing various sectors (Agriculture, Food and Beverage; Apparel and Footwear; Cultural Industries; Energy, Chemicals and Plastics; Environment; Fish and Seafood Products; Information Technologies; Medical and Health Care Products and Services; Services; as well as Textiles, Fur and Leather), which conduct their work via restricted web sites, on conference calls and in face-to-face meetings.

Academic Advisory Council (AAC)

The Academic Advisory Council reports to the Deputy Minister for International Trade and calls together some of the leading Canadian experts on trade and related social and economic development matters for in-depth review of collaborative work and/or analyses that narrow the gaps on issues common to multilateral, bilateral and regional trade agreements and negotiations. Through their expertise and research, the Council has proven useful in contributing to fact-based, rational public discourse.


CARICOM Charter of Civil Society

CARICOM Heads of Government in 1997 adopted the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society, the main objectives of which are to enhance public confidence in governance, to create a truly participatory political environment within the Caribbean Community, to enter the 21 st Century on the basis of the best possible governance and to achieve and sustain that governance by mobilizing action for change. The Charter institutionalized a strong tradition of consultation between CARICOM governments and stakeholders in civil society at the national and regional levels, which dates back to the early days of West Indian Federation in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The Charter, one of several recommendations of the 1992 West Indian Commission Report - Time for Action, was itself the result of some fourteen months of national consultations in individual CARICOM Member States with a wide range of stakeholders to develop a strategic approach to re-positioning the Caribbean in the Community of sovereign states. In making its recommendations, the Commission noted that ‘Integration inevitably involves inter-governmental negotiation and decision-making; but it is not the preserve of Governments alone. People need to be drawn into the process’.

The Charter provides the platform for strengthened dialogue with members of civil society at the national level and in the various organs of the Community, namely the Conference of Heads of Government, the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), and the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), in order to engage major stakeholders on matters of trade policy, social policy and the overall development of the Community.

Forward Together Conference

Heads of Governments of the 15 CARICOM Member States convened in Georgetown, Guyana in July 2002, together with representatives of non-governmental organizations from the region to engage in consultations aimed at strengthening the involvement of Civil Society in the different processes in which the region is involved, in particular the program of regional integration in the context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Civil Society ‘Forward Together Conference’, facilitated dialogue in the context of three Working Groups on:

(i) Human Resource Development with Equity, including issues in relation to Gender, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Migration and the Diaspora;
(ii) Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) - Capital Investment and requirements for competitiveness; and
(iii) Governance and Participation

Besides agreeing on several broad principles for strengthening the relationships between Caribbean Heads of Government and national governments and the Civil Society, the Conference agreed to institutionalize the Forward Together Process in the form of triennial engagements between the Civil Society and the Heads of Government, and established a Task Force comprising a small representative group of the Civil Society, coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat, to develop a comprehensive regional strategic framework for carrying forward the main recommendations of the Forward Together Conference.

The CARICOM Secretariat has also organized several consultations at the national level throughout the Community on the various aspects of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Similar consultations have been held with general and legal interest groups on the role and functions of the Caribbean Court of Justice, an integral part of the Community. Youth Parliaments with various partners in individual Member States have also permitted Youth groups to assist in defining regional priorities for youth development.

In this general process of consultation, the private sector continues to play an important role in shaping regional trade policy in the context of the COTED, which oversees the functioning of internal market arrangements as well as external trade relations. Other social sector groups - labor, youth and women - participate in meetings of COHSOD which is charged with establishing policies and programs to promote the development and improvement of education, culture, health services, labor and industrial relations, youth, women and sports, in the Community. Business, labor and civil society groups also participate in the regular annual meetings of the Conference of Heads of Government and are provided an opportunity to make statements on their priority areas.

Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery

The Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) was formed in 1997 to co-ordinate CARICOM’s participation in the several negotiating theatres in which the region is involved, and to develop a cohesive trade negotiating strategy to ensure that CARICOM countries derive the maximum benefits possible from major international trade negotiations. In pursuit of its mandate, the CRNM has developed and implemented a Communication and Partnership Strategy (CPS), which links the CRNM with its stakeholders in the private sector, labor unions and the NGO community and facilitates the exchange of information on negotiation issues as well as technical inputs into the negotiations. The RNM Update, a monthly trade publication, is one of the main products of the CPS, which disseminates information on developments within the various negotiating theatres in which CARICOM Member States are involved.

One of the strategic objectives of the CRNM is to develop a framework and overall structure that will increase the effectiveness of the process through which negotiation strategies are formulated and negotiating arrangements organized and coordinated. In this regard, the CRNM has established Technical Working Groups in several of the negotiating disciplines in which the region is involved. The TWGs, coordinated by the CRNM in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, are comprised of specialists drawn from Member States, the regional and sub-regional Secretariats, other specialized regional institutions, regional private sector organizations, labor, and the University of the West Indies and provide a forum for consultation and the formulation of negotiating strategies and proposals for clearance by COTED and final endorsement by the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Negotiations and ultimately by the Heads of Government. The TWGs provide an indispensable mechanism for technical consultation particularly in the context of the FTAA negotiations, and provide the facility for dissemination and exchange of information with the private sector and civil society in general on developments within the negotiations.

Importantly, the quality of feedback from civil society is inexorably linked to the accurate dissemination of information. This necessarily implies the need for a reliable and informed media, which would be used as the machinery through which civil society is informed and actively encouraged to offer a critical analysis and to publicly air their views on the current trade policy agenda. To this end, the CRNM in collaboration with CIDA and the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), a regional umbrella NGO, facilitated a workshop for Caribbean Media workers in Montego Bay, Jamaica from June 30th to July 1st aimed at sensitizing senior members of the Caribbean print and electronic media on current trade policy issues in the context of the FTAA, the WTO and in the context of the negotiations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (EU-ACP).

There have been several requests for more education and awareness programs at both the national and regional levels to ensure meaningful engagement and in-depth critical analysis by all stakeholders of the results of trade negotiations and the likely impact on human and social development. The RNM will convene a similar consultation with labor unions in November and is moving towards developing a platform for communication and exchange of information with the private sector and civil society in general.



The public sector, the private sector, and academia are cooperating with the negotiating team in the following way:

The Public Sector - Presidential Directive 09 of 2002 sets out the general guidelines for devising Colombia's negotiating position in the FTAA negotiations and determines the role that state entities represented on the negotiating team are to have in that process. The different state entities participate in negotiation-related topics, with each one focusing on its own area of expertise. The Directive sets forth that public entities involved in the negotiations should give priority to such negotiations and provide all institutional support necessary to allow their officials to attend the respective national and international meetings.

The Private Sector - The negotiating team is assisted by private sector representatives appointed by manufacturers associations for the negotiations. The private sector created an internal coordination agency through the Inter-Association Foreign Trade Committee (Comité Intergremial del Comercio Exterior, or CICEX), which attends all meetings convened by the Ministry on each negotiating topic.

Academia and Research Centers - Academic and research centers that support the trade negotiations in which Colombia is engaged are taking part so as to broaden the scope of participation in negotiations of particular interest to domestic producers and the community at large. Academic and research centers are to contribute to the formulation of an overall strategy and analyze and disseminate information on the development and progress of the negotiations in the different areas, so as to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among young people and students generally. Each university was assigned a specific topic and was contracted to carry out specific tasks.

Interaction with the members of the three components of the negotiating team takes place through meetings that are periodically convened by the Ministry. In these meetings, the private sector finds an ongoing channel for dialogue. Prior to each FTAA negotiating group meeting, the Ministry convenes representatives of the private sector, public sector, and academia to discuss and evaluate Colombia's position at the negotiating table.

Likewise, meetings are convened after each meeting of the negotiating groups to inform the public, private, and academic sectors of the results and to exchange ideas on the evolution of the different negotiating positions.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, as coordinator of the international trade negotiations in which Colombia is taking part, has made a priority, throughout the negotiations, of using all available tools to provide ample information on the negotiating process through which the FTAA is to be created.

The Ministry has, thus, participated in the most important private forums, such as those periodically organized by the National Association of Financial Institutions (ANIF), the National Manufacturers Association (ANDI), the National Foreign Trade Association (ANALDEX), as well as in different congresses and association and union forums, and at various universities. At these events, the Ministry has informed the private sector of the progress and the scope of negotiations. In addition to supporting the research work carried by the universities within the framework of the negotiating team, the Ministry has worked closely with these institutions in other ways since it considers them an important bridge for raising awareness on the FTAA.


The dissemination activities that have been carried out are intended to sensitize and educate civil society so that it will become involved in these important negotiations through interaction with the Ministry.

The dissemination activities organized by the Ministry include:

  1. An important effort to ensure that our Webpage, and particularly the section on the FTAA, is as informative as possible; to this end we have included:

  • Thirty-three Frequently Asked Questions, with the corresponding answers;

  • Figures showing the importance of the FTAA in the world and for Colombia;

  • All derestricted documents from the different negotiating groups, as well as publications and databases prepared by the Tripartite Committee and posted on the FTAA’s official Webpage;

  • Links to all the pages of entities of the countries in the hemisphere responsible for FTAA-related issues;

  • Space for civil society to make suggestions on additional information that it would like to see posted in this section.

  1. In 2002, the Ministry, along with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras), gave seminars on the topic in seven of the largest cities in the country: Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Pereira, and Manizales. In conjunction with the Higher Institute of Public Administration (ESAP), the Ministry gave the same seminar in seven other departmental capitals: Cúcuta, Paste, Leticia, San Andrés, Santa Martín, Ibagué, and Armenia. Cities not covered in these seminars in 2002 were included during the Exporters' Weeks organized by the Ministry.2 

    For this year, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism has planned Entrepreneurs’ Weeks and Exporters’ Weeks in 20 cities throughout the country, where conferences and workshops on the FTAA are scheduled.

  2. We have contacted public entities, the Federal Congress, the private sector, and academic institutions, asking them to place links to the Ministry's FTAA information page on their Internet pages. Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Trade3 ran a television commercial at the beginning of last year, and the air time of “Civic Code of Signal Colombia” was used to broadcast information on the FTAA.

  3. On 23 May 2002 a Seminar titled “Effects of the FTAA on Colombia's Economy” was held, thanks to the technical cooperation granted by ALADI in response to the Ministry of Foreign Trade's efforts to train the negotiating team.

  4. On 10 and 11 December 2002, in Lima, Peru, a Seminar-Workshop was held for civil society actors and representatives from Andean Community member countries, to publicize the FTAA negotiations and provide information on them. The IDB funded the participation of the speakers and of ten civil society representatives from each Andean Community member country. Colombia was represented by the Colombian Universities Association, the Universidad Externado de Colombia, the Natura Foundation, the Pro-Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Foundation, the Colombian Consumer Federation, the National Movement for the Human Rights of Afro-Colombian Communities (Cimarrón), the Colombian Federation of Municipalities, and the Unitary Workers Federation (CUT).

  5. The Ministry has held information and opinion-sharing meetings with unions. The Ministry also accepted an invitation from the General Federation of Democratic Workers (CGTD) and the National Institute of Social Studies (INES) to take part in a panel discussion of the negotiations, along with a large number of trade unionists.

  6. The Ministry's reports to the Colombian Congress over the last four years have included a section on the negotiations describing in detail the current status of the process and its evolution. Likewise, events have been organized with some members of Congress to exchange information on the process.

  7. On 9 December 2002, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade conducted a videoconference that was transmitted in the head offices of the National Learning Service (SENA), a government entity, in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, and Barranquilla. Through the videoconference many public sector, private sector, and academic participants were informed of the progress of the FTAA negotiations, and the concerns expressed by participants from each office were addressed. For 2003, another series of videoconferences will be scheduled, with a view to including a larger segment of civil society and disseminating information on the FTAA to a larger number of persons.

  8. Each year since 1999, the Ministry has, in conjunction with the business sector, held two Symposiums for Productivity and Competitiveness. The last two symposiums have focused on and made a priority of preparing for the negotiations and the entry into force of the FTAA. The topics covered in these events were as follows:

Sixth Symposium for Productivity and Competitiveness. Santa Marta, 14-15 March 2002 Challenges vis-à-vis the FTAA Hemispheric negotiations 900
Seventh Symposium for Productivity and Competitiveness. Barranquilla, 3-4 October 2002 Challenges vis-à-vis the FTAA-WTO international negotiations 1300

Likewise, the Eighth Symposium for Productivity and Competitiveness will be held in Bucaramanga on 8 and 9 May of this year. The topic will be “Trade Negotiations: For a More Competitive Country,” and FTAA-related topics will also be addressed.

  1. For the month of May 2003, the Ministry has planned an information and discussion seminar on the process in order to inform participants on the latest developments. The Minister of Trade, Industry, and Tourism will participate in the seminar, as will the Minister of Social Protection. Representatives from various civil society sectors will be invited. The sectors represented include: the economy, indigenous groups, the environment, education, social issues, communities, the Raizal indigenous group, women, peasants, black communities, workers, the Church, land, and the Federal Congress.


The government of Costa Rica has, through its Foreign Trade Ministry, set up a formal participation and consultation mechanism, as well as a mechanism for dialogue and information at the national level with the various sectors of civil society for the purpose of discerning the opinions of civil society and defining Costa Rica's position with respect to the FTAA process. The basic principles governing this consultation process are: (a) achieving the broadest participation of the various sectors of civil society in the FTAA process through adequate outreach, information, and consultation mechanisms; and (b) establishing a dialogue with the Costa Rican production sector on market access conditions and other related issues so that full advantage is taken of the commercial opportunities created by the FTAA. This process operates basically on two levels:


At this level, the mechanism operates through the Foreign Trade Consultative Council, which was created by the Law on Negotiations and the Administration of Free Trade Treaties, Agreements and Instruments of Foreign Trade, of 21 November 2000. The Council is chaired by the Foreign Trade Minister and consists of both public officials and representatives of the private sector.

The Council is responsible for advising the Executive Branch of government on the definition of foreign trade and foreign investment policies and for promoting mechanisms for coordination and cooperation with the private sector so that those policies and trade negotiations are executed. The Council consists of: (a) the Foreign Trade Minister; (b) the Minister of Economics, Industry and Trade; (c) the Minister of Agriculture; (d) the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religion; (e) the President of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Enterprise, the Chamber of Industry, the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Exporters, the Chamber of Agriculture, the Costa Rican Chamber of Representatives of Foreign Companies, Distributors, and Importers, and the Costa Rican Chamber of the Food Industry; (f) a representative of the National Union of Costa Rican Small- and Medium-Size Farmers (UPANACIONAL); (g) two representatives of organizations of small- and medium-size producers and enterprises; (h) a representative of the National Federation of Consumer Associations (FENASCO); (i) two representatives of consumer organizations, appointed by legitimized organizations; (j) the President of the Development Initiatives Coalition (CINDE); and (k) the General Manager of the Foreign Trade Promotion Agency (PROCOMER).


This level consists of the process of direct consultation with companies, professional associations, and other sectors of civil society, which in turn is divided into various levels and modalities of consultation and outreach:

  1. Open invitation: The Foreign Trade Ministry extended an open invitation to interested parties in the official daily 'La Gaceta' No.26 of 7 February 2000 to comment upon the FTAA process either in general or specifically on the regulatory issues under discussion in the process. A mechanism was set up for this purpose to receive and process the observations and consultations received from groups representing society, and a form was drawn up outlining the minimum information requirements for the comments Costa Ricans may wish to make. The comments received were taken into account in the determination of Costa Rica's position in each of the FTAA negotiating groups. The Ministry made this position known on 27 July 2000 at a public event attended by over 400 people, the results of which were later published in the document “Costa Rica en el proceso de ALCA: estado actual y perceptivas” (Costa Rica in the FTAA process: current status and perceptions), which was also published on the Ministry's web site at In August 2002, several documents were published in 'La Gaceta' and the country's main newspapers. These included: “Mecanismo de consulta e información para las negociaciones del Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas” (Consultation and information mechanism for the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas), which invited participation in the public event being held to launch the consultation process; “Consulta con respecto a las Negociaciones del Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas” (Consultation regarding the Negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas), which was a formal invitation to participate in the consultation process; and “Consultas Públicas paras las Negociaciones del Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas” (Public Consultations for the Negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas), which set out the requirements for receiving comments and the procedures for submitting them.


  3. Direct consultations with companies and professional associations: in order to complement the above activities, a broad program was arranged for direct consultations on the FTAA process with companies, chambers and associations. In 2002, specific invitations were sent to over 900 companies and around 60 chambers of commerce and sectoral groups for distribution among their members. These chambers represent 39 production subsectors of the agricultural, agro-industrial, and industrial sectors of the country.


  5. Permanent Connection Point: The Ministry has created an information network called 'Punto de Enlace Permanente' (Permanent Connection Point -PEP by its Spanish acronym) through which anyone can obtain information and inquire about the FTAA at any time. The network currently has around 1,500 users who, on average, receive two weekly bulletins on the progress of the various negotiations underway, including the FTAA process. This mechanism has not only served to provide up-to-date information, but also to receive contributions, comments, and observations from all its users.


  7. Periodic diffusion of specific information via Internet or electronic mail on markets and the status of the negotiations: A special link on the FTAA consultation process has been made publicly available at the web site “” with information on the FTAA, and specifically, on background information on the process, the results of the ministerial meetings, ministerial summits, notices regarding the receipt of contributions, results of the consultation process, draft FTAA chapters, and a large amount of information from each of the countries that make up the FTAA, which allow those interested to develop informed opinions on the negotiations process. In addition to this, a person has been appointed in the Ministry to handle consultations on the FTAA negotiations. Public events for launching the consultation process have also been held, and a series of media events have been organized for publicity purposes, including press releases, interviews, and exhibitions.

  8. Dialogue with the Legislative Assembly: a permanent and open dialogue between COMEX and the Legislative Assembly has been established for the duration of the FTAA consultation and negotiation process so that legislators can be kept informed of the progress being made in the process.


  10. Public events: In order to further knowledge of the FTAA negotiations agenda, the Ministry of Foreign Trade has organized several Foreign Trade Conference Cycles on FTAA issues which have been open to the public.


Regular meetings with representatives of non-governmental organizations- These meetings bring together representatives of the highly diverse interests of civil society and the government officials involved in the FTAA negotiations. Any organization may participate in these meetings either by attending them or by sending in written questions or comments on the various negotiation topics. In addition to the written and electronic notifications that are issued, these meetings also serve to inform non-governmental organizations of the various events the FTAA is organizing to encourage the participation of civil society.

Meetings with business organizations- Dialogues are held with the various business organizations that specialize in foreign trade, such as the Coordinating Entity for Foreign Trade Business Organizations (COECE), the Mexican Foreign Trade Council (COMCE), and other Mexican business organizations and companies, with a view to answering queries and ascertaining the needs of the country's various production sectors with regard to the FTAA negotiation process. These business organizations also organize events on the economic and commercial implications of the FTAA, in which the various government officials involved in the negotiations also participate. Similarly, the Mexican Government has invited the business sector to participate in the Business Forums of the Americas.

Meetings with the academic sector- The interest generated by the FTAA negotiation process in the Mexican academic sector has been so great that it has led to the organization of various national and international events by, or with the support of, Mexican universities and institutes of higher education, and these have also been attended by various government officials involved in the negotiations.

Organization of the North American Regional Seminar- On 18 July 2002, the governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada, jointly organized the Seminar “The FTAA: Opportunities and Challenges for North America” in the city of Merida, Mexico, with a view to discovering the general public's opinion of the FTAA negotiations in areas such as: market access, agriculture, investment, services, and transparency. Government representatives and members of civil society from the three countries participated. A summary of this seminar is included in the Third Report of the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society, posted on the official FTAA web site (

Meeting with Hemispheric Civil Society- The Meeting with Hemispheric Civil Society, “Progress in the FTAA Negotiations”, was held in Puebla, on 8 April 2003, in parallel with the Thirteenth Meeting of the FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee. This event was attended by the co-chairs of the FTAA negotiation process, chairs of negotiating groups and technical committees, government representatives, and representatives of various non-governmental organizations and the academic sector. The conclusions and recommendations of the discussion groups were submitted by the moderators to the Vice Ministers attending the TNC meeting.

The dissemination of information through the Internet- Civil society now has access to a large volume of information on the FTAA through the web page of the Secretariat of the Economy ( negotiation texts, general principles, negotiation methods and modalities, summit meetings, ministerial declarations, publications and databases, presentations, meeting schedules, works published by the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society, access to the FTAA web site, etc.



In its desire to inform on and publicize the status of international negotiations and their achievements, Paraguay seeks to empower existing entities, such as the MERCOSUR Joint Parliamentary Commission (Comisión Parlamentaria Conjunta del MERCOSUR); the MERCOSUR Socio-Economic Consultative Forum (Foro Consultivo Económico y Social del MERCOSUR); the National Council on Trade and Integration (Consejo Nacional de Comercio e Integración - CONACIN by its Spanish acronym), and other future projects that are to be implemented with a view to creating an expeditious way for fulfilling the tasks at hand.

- CONACIN’s predecessor was the “National Council on Foreign Trade”, established in 1962, which, in turn, broadened the scope of the former “Free Trade Zone National Council” of 1960. Although broader in scope than both its predecessors, CONACIN also seeks to promote foreign trade and integration, by directing Paraguay's foreign policy in keeping with current demands.

To better fulfill its mission, the Council works as a standing, high-ranking, group that discusses action lines at the national level, while seeking to meet the joint expectations of the government and civil society, to establish strategies that will help the nation both in matters related to international negotiations and the definition of national trade and integration guidelines.

- At the “Socioeconomic Consultative Forum”, in its capacity as the agency that channels private sector projects and proposals within MERCOSUR’s institutional structure, progress was made in the discussions on strengthening dialogue between socioeconomic sectors and society in general. All issues of substantial interest to civil society are studied within this forum.


One of the top priorities for Paraguay’s foreign policy is to establish a permanent mechanism to consult with the Legislative and the Executive Branches in order to promote joint strategies that will strengthen the country’s position in foreign negotiations, taking into account the significant role played by inter-institutional coordination for the effective incorporation of the legal rules generated by the negotiation process in the country’s national legislation. In this regard, it has been deemed important that Parliament and the Government act jointly, particularly in legal matters, through internal implementation of a mechanism to coordinate permanent joint actions that examine legislative bills drafted by MERCOSUR and the FTAA, with the understanding that most of them will be incorporated into the national body of laws through legislative means.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Undersecretariat of Economic Relations and Integration, has trained a group of its officers to create a corps of technical monitors to be in charge of disseminating information on the status of Paraguay’s participation in international negotiations. The following is a summary of the main events in which both monitors and various public and private entities have participated.

- Panel-Debate “The FTAA and its socioeconomic impact in Paraguay”. Held on 17 July 2003; with approximately 150 participants from the following non-governmental organizations: Campaign for Citizens Expression; Documentation and Study Center; Human Rights Coordinator of Paraguay; Bank Workers Federation; Community Development Institute; Peasant Associations; Workers Central Union; and the National Social Pastoral Organization.

- International Seminar”: “FTAA and MERCOSUR: Complementary projects?” Held on 17 July 2003; with approximately 100 participants; organized by the Center for Examination and Dissemination of Information on the Paraguayan Economy and the MERCOSUR network.

- Seminars: “MERCOSUR and the FTAA: Challenges and perspectives for Paraguay.” Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), held in both the capital and other parts of the country. These gatherings were attended by civil society representatives from different departments in Paraguay:

1. Concepción, 13 July 2001, 51 participants;
2. Amambay, 20 July 2001, 72 participants;
3. Guairá, 24 August 2001, 146 participants;
4. Boquerón, 19 October 2001, 31 participants;
5. Pilar, 1 March 2002, 102 participants;
6. Caaguazu, 22 March 2002, 93 participants;
7. Salto del Guairá, 12 April 2002, 61 participants;
8. Encarnación, 3 May 2002, 128 participants;
9. Misiones, 31 May 2002, 124 participants;
10. Ciudad del Este, 20 May 2002, 78 participants;
11. Asunción, 16 September 2002, 32 participants;

- Seminar: “Civil Society, debate on MERCOSUR and the FTAA,” organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the cooperation of the IDB:

1. Encarnación, 1 August 2002, 280 participants;
2. Asunción, 5 August 2002, 148 participants;
3. Pedro Juan Caballero, 8 August 2002, 268 participants;
4. Asunción, 12 August 2002, 120 participants;
5. Asunción, 14 August 2002, 67 participants;
6. Asunción, 19 August 2002, 97 participants;
7. Ciudad del Este, 22 August 2002, 138 participants;
8. Luque, 26 August 2002, 219 participants;
9. Caaguazu, 19 August 2002, 114 participants;
10. Asunción, 2 September 2002, 30 participants;
11. Pilar, 12 September 2002, 189 participants;
12. Coronel Oviedo, 19 September 2002, 332 participants;
13. Asunción, 4 October 2002, 38 participants;
14. Caacupé, 9 October 2002, 300 participants;


- “Conclusiones de los seminarios sobre el Relanzamiento del MERCOSUR y nuevos desafios para el Paraguay” (Conclusions of the seminars on re-launching MERCOSUR and new challenges for Paraguay). Summary of activities conducted in different Departments throughout the country: Itapúa and Alto Paraná; by Dr. Fernando Masi, from the Center for the Study and Dissemination of Information on the Paraguayan Economy (Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya - CADEP by its Spanish acronym).

- Publications containing the conclusions on the seminars: MERCOSUR and FTAA: Challenges and perspectives for Paraguay; held in Concepción (Dept. of Concepción) and Pedro Juan Caballero (Dept. of Amambay); by Dr. Reinaldo Penner, International Consultant.

- “Los Procesos de Integracion - MERCOSUR y ALCA” (Integration Processes - MERCOSUR and the FTAA), by Ambassador Antonio Felix López.



Established in May 1998, this Committee, comprising the private sector and academia, develops proposals representing the views held by non-official sectors in Peru on the FTAA negotiation process, so that the negotiations reflect the private sector’s position. To that end, the Committee’s work dynamic entails ongoing interaction with Peruvian representatives to the Negotiating Groups, and with high-level political authorities of the different sectors involved.

The Committee includes over 300 entrepreneurs, academics, and experts on the different negotiation areas. It is divided into ten working groups, nine of which mirror existing official negotiating groups. In addition, a group named “Business View of the Social Agenda” has been established to reflect on how the FTAA will impact Peruvian society.

The Committee makes every effort to disseminate information on the FTAA process through the Chambers of Commerce in the different provinces throughout the nation. In the last year, dissemination events have been conducted in eight cities (Piura, Iquitos, Cusco, Arequipa, Pucallpa, Tarapoto, Cajamarca, and Sullana), through conferences, seminars, forums, newspapers, articles printed in business reviews, interviews with representatives from the business sector and academia, etc.). Information has also been disseminated in Congress.

Internationally, the Committee actively participates in Hemispheric Business Forums by submitting proposals and papers, and by coordinating the participation of the private sector in those forums. To that end, this past year, the Committee issued a wide call for papers to collectively reflect concerns and proposals. Workshops have been conducted to discuss new topics or develop those presented last year. To date, the Commission has organized two national forums (February 2001 and September 2002), which included workshops aimed at reaching conclusions on the FTAA negotiations that were then forwarded to the official sector. These national forums are conducted on a yearly basis; the Third Forum will be held this October. The following is a brief account of the forums to date:

I FTAA/Peru National Forum (February 2001)

A simulated international business forum was held to prepare papers. Workshops were conducted for all nine working groups, with 50 to 100 attendees at each workshop. A plenary meeting was held on the second day, attended by the Prime Minister and 300 representatives from civil society.

II FTAA/Peru National Forum (September 2002)

The main objective of this forum was to coordinate the positions of the business sector, academia, and civil society in general, in order to consolidate the proposals to be presented at the VII Business Forum of the Americas and to convey that position, directly and transparently, to Peru’s official negotiators. Again, workshops were conducted for each working group on the first day and a plenary meeting was held on the second day, with a total of 600 attendees each day. The event was broadcast by videoconference to 10 provincial Chambers.

Finally, it must be mentioned that coordination processes with this Committee always progress very smoothly. Currently, the Committee’s different working groups are laboring intensively on preparing proposals to improve the draft Chapters and the market access offers to other countries.


This Working Table, established in June 2000 at the initiative of the Peruvian Environmental Law Association, meets once every three weeks. The table has 20 members, including officials involved in international trade negotiations and national environmental policies; labor union and trade association members; NGOs; and representatives from different public and private institutions.

The I Forum on Trade and the Environment was held in 2001, with the objective of disseminating information on some national experiences and raising a general awareness of the issues prioritized by the Working Table.

It is worth noting that working table members participate on their own behalf, even though they have been invited to participate based on their personal background and their association with trade- and environment-related institutions.

Working table members belong to the following institutions: Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism; Ministry of Agriculture; National Environmental Council; National Environmental Fund/Fondo Nacional del Ambiente - FONAM by its Spanish acronym; Commission for the Promotion of Peru/Comisión de Promoción del Perú - PROMPERU by its Spanish acronym; General Secretariat of the Andean Community; American Chamber of Commerce of Peru; Lima Chamber of Commerce; National Industry Association; Peru Foreign Trade Association/Sociedad de Comercio Exterior del Perú - COMEX PERU by its Spanish acronym; University of Lima; University of the Pacific; Peruvian Environmental Law Association; as well as specialized law firms, businesses, and consultants.

The Working Table’s overall objective is to jointly study trade and environmental issues, thus providing a forum for expression and participation. The table further seeks to raise awareness, agree on positions and disseminate them, in order to achieve sensitization to the need for a conceptual position to be developed on the issue that may be useful to the Peruvian government in regional and multilateral trade negotiations currently underway, including a progressive implementation of environmental systems that will guarantee international market access in the future.

This local discussion forum on trade and the environment, created by the Working Table, is expected to be linked more proactively to current debates being held within the framework of FTAA and WTO negotiations. This national forum is also linked to a national strategy, spearheaded by Grupo Zapallar, aimed at generating dialogues on trade and the environment.

Another important activity conducted by the Working Table is the “Perspectives on FTAA Negotiations” workshop series, in which the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Draft Agreement was examined in order to make specific contributions on environmental issues, based on the official text of the different chapters of the agreement. The specialized discussion workshops addressed the following four issues: i) intellectual property; ii) investment; iii) agriculture; and iv) special and differential treatment. The workshops were held in July, August, September, and October 2002. Summaries of their results were published and forwarded to the official sector. The Peruvian Environmental Law Association (Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental - SPDA by its Spanish acronym) is responsible for coordinating this working table.


Since the year 2000, MINCETUR actively participated in the “Integration, Civil Society, and Social Clauses” Working Table, organized by the Peruvian Center for Labor Consulting (Centro de Asesoría Laboral del Perú - CEDAL by its Spanish Acronym)4 within the framework of the “Information and Training on Integration, International Trade, and ICICS Social Clauses for Grassroots Labor and Social Organizations.”

The main objective of this project was to assist in updating labor union and social organization leaders regarding the status of, and perspectives on, integration processes and free trade agreements in which Peru participates.

This Working Table, whose meetings ended on the last week of January 2001, sought to become a forum for expressing views on, and participating in, the matter, and for preparing proposals to promote participation and consultation forums and mechanisms for social actors and economic agents.

The ultimate objective was to hold a similar event at the national level, not only to keep this sector of civil society abreast of trade negotiations currently underway, but to exchange ideas with, and listen to, the opinions of said sector, maintaining a fluid and constructive dialogue to strengthen the relationship between the private and official sectors.

In this spirit, the “Trade and Labor Rights” Working Table was established in August 2001 at the joint initiative of the Peruvian Center for Labor Consulting - CEDAL (Technical Secretariat) and MINCETUR (formerly Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Integration and International Trade Negotiations/Ministerio de Industria, Turismo, Integración y Negociaciones Comerciales Internacionales - MITINCI by its Spanish acronym).

The Table’s objectives are to study and propose guidelines regarding the relationship between international trade and labor rights, raise awareness, and coordinate and disseminate positions to achieve general sensitization on the issue, among others.

Since the beginning of 2003, ongoing efforts have been made to consolidate the FTAA-related work performed by these Tables, within the framework of the meetings held by “Grupo Visión Empresarial” (Business Vision Group) on the Social Agenda of the FTAA/PERU Committee.

A comprehensive dissemination program is currently being conducted in seven different initial locations throughout the country. This decentralized program seeks to involve the different sectors of civil society throughout the entire nation, by keeping them informed and linking them in the best way possible to the work performed by the Official Sector.


U.S. Trade Policy Consultation Process

The United States Trade Representative's (USTR) Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison (IAPL) was created to expand and enhance USTR’s consultation process with state and local governments, the business and agricultural communities, labor, environmental, consumer, academic, and other domestic groups. The private sector advisory committee system, established by the U.S. Congress in 1974, falls under its auspices. The advisory committee system was created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect U.S. interests. The USTR Office of IAPL also serves as the liaison to all state and local governments on the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements, including FTAA matters. Additionally, USTR issues frequent Federal Register Notices seeking public comment on ongoing trade negotiations, periodically convenes public hearings on trade issues, holds public briefings, regularly disseminates press releases and other trade information to domestic stakeholders, and meets with a broad spectrum of domestic groups at their request. All these mechanisms provide opportunity for domestic input, and the views expressed by civil society stakeholders are taken into consideration in the formulation of U.S. trade policy.

Advisory Committees

The advisory committees were established by the U.S. Congress and provide information and advice with respect to U.S. negotiating objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade agreements, on the operation of any trade agreement once entered into, and on other matters arising in connection with the development, implementation, and administration of U.S. trade policy. The private sector advisory committee system currently consists of 33 advisory committees, with a total membership of approximately 700 advisors. Recommendations for candidates for committee membership are collected from a number of sources including members of Congress, associations and organizations, publications, and other individuals who have demonstrated an interest or expertise in U.S. trade policy. Membership selection is based on qualifications, geography, and the needs of the specific committee. Advisors are not compensated and serve at their own expense. Members of the committees obtain security clearances and have access to U.S. draft proposals and papers in order to be able to provide civil society input and advice from the perspective of their particular sectors.

By statute, the system is arranged in three tiers: the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN); policy advisory committees; and numerous technical, sectoral, and functional advisory committees. The President appoints up to 45 ACTPN members for two-year terms. The 1974 Trade Act requires that membership broadly represent key economic sectors and groups affected by trade. The committee considers trade policy issues in the context of the overall national interest. ACTPN’s diverse membership includes, for example, the National Association of Manufacturers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Nature Conservancy, the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, the Small Business Exporters Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Governor of the State of Connecticut, the Brookings Institute, and the University of Oklahoma.

The four policy advisory committees are appointed by the USTR alone or in conjunction with other cabinet officers. The Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC), which provides trade advice from the perspective of state and local governments, is managed solely by USTR. Policy advisory committees managed jointly by USTR with the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency, are, respectively, the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), Labor Advisory Committee (LAC), and Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC). Each committee provides advice based on the perspective of its specific sector or area. For example, the LAC has 58 representatives of union interests, including the AFL-CIO, Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), United Steelworkers of America, International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, Service Employees International Union, and others. The TEPAC has 29 members, including groups such as the Center for International Environmental Law, the Humane Society of the United States, the Endangered Species Coalition, Oceana, Transparency International, the Consumers Union, and George Washington University. TEPAC has been particularly involved in the U.S. FTAA environment proposal and environmental reviews policy. All cleared advisory committee members have access to U.S. FTAA negotiating proposals in market access and other areas, and are afforded ongoing opportunity for comment and input.

The 26 sectoral, functional, and technical advisory committees are organized in two areas: industry and agriculture. Representatives are appointed jointly by USTR and the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, respectively. Each sectoral or technical committee represents a specific sector (for example, aerospace, electronics, chemicals, services industries, textiles) or commodity group (for example, “grains, feed and oilseeds,” “fruits and vegetables,” and “animals and animal products”) and provides specific technical advice concerning the effect that trade policy decisions may have on its sector. The four functional advisory committees provide cross-sectoral advice on customs, standards, intellectual property issues, and electronic commerce.

The committees meet on a regular basis, receive confidential information about ongoing trade negotiations and other trade policy issues and development, and are required to report to the President and Congress on any trade agreement entered into under the Trade Act of 2002. Advisory committee reports on finalized trade agreements are also made available to the public. Committee membership lists are available to the public on the USTR website at

Public Consultations and Outreach on FTAA

In 2002 and 2003, the U.S. Government has participated in over 120 meetings, briefings and consultations regarding the FTAA negotiations with the trade advisory committees; Congressional committees of jurisdiction including the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, the House and Senate agriculture committees and others; business, agricultural, labor, environment, consumer, and academic groups, states and localities, and members of the public.

For example, U.S. officials continually briefed and facilitated consultations with advisory committees, Congress, and other domestic stakeholders on the FTAA agenda leading up to the 2002 FTAA Ministerial in Quito, Ecuador. Prior to Quito, USTR and domestic groups participated in the first-ever North American civil society forum on FTAA held in Merida, Mexico in July 2002. USTR also organized public briefings in advance of the Quito Ministerial, and conducted several taped webcasts with daily updates from the negotiating site in Quito for advisors and members of the public. In addition, officials met with representatives of business and civil society groups in Quito, and participated in a workshop organized by Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA) and environmental groups from throughout the Hemisphere. USTR facilitated the public dissemination of the second draft text of the FTAA agreement on its website on the same day that the Ministerial concluded, continuing a precedent set by Ministers at the FTAA meeting in Buenos Aires in 2001. At Quito, USTR also took note of recommendations made by the Americas Business Forum, and met with and received recommendations from organizers of Civil Society Fora.

In 2003, USTR notified domestic civil society of two Federal Register Notices: one soliciting public comments on the second draft consolidated texts of the FTAA agreement, and another encouraging the public to respond to the FTAA Open and Ongoing Invitation issued by the SOC committee, for inclusion of civil society views in the SOC Report to Ministers. USTR consulted broadly with advisory groups, Congress, and other domestic stakeholders regarding FTAA U.S. market access offers, a summary and fact sheet of which was published on the USTR website in February 2003. USTR took steps to ensure U.S. civil society participation in the FTAA-wide civil society issue meetings organized by the SOC in rotating host countries: the first in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 25 on the topic of agriculture (U.S. participants included the American Farm Bureau Federation and Oxfam America, for example), and the second in Santiago, Chile on September 23 on the topic of services, and publicized these FTAA civil society meetings prominently on its website. In July, USTR held a public briefing on the FTAA with senior government officials, with an open question and answer session. Over 60 organizations attended, including diverse groups such as the Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Public Citizen, International Gender and Trade Network, the Center of Concern, and the Information Technology Association.

Finally, the U.S. is coordinating with domestic civil society groups and state, county, and city officials in Florida regarding the November 2003 FTAA Ministerial in Miami. For U.S. and hemispheric civil society stakeholders, the Miami Ministerial will feature parallel meetings of the ninth Americas Business Forum (ABF), organized by hemispheric business groups, and the Americas Trade and Sustainable Development Forum (ATSDF), organized by the North-South Center at the University of Miami in conjunction with hemispheric NGO groups, academics and think tanks (including CEDA, Ecuador; PARTICIPA, Chile; FLACSO, Argentina; Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), Canada; International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada; Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, USA; Tulane University, USA; Transparency International, USA) Registration for the ABF and ATSDF is open to the public, and all FTAA government officials are encouraged to attend the parallel workshops to promote further dialogue. Representatives of the ABF and ATSDF will meet with Ministers in concluding sessions for an exchange of views that, in an unprecedented effort to increase transparency and public access, will be broadcast to the public on the web and on closed-circuit television.

1Further information can be obtained on the web at In addition to Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a number of other Federal Departments and Agencies have also established permanent and ad-hoc consultation and outreach mechanisms in the area of trade policy, which are not mentioned in this information document due to its limited scope. Canada reserves the right to make revisions to this document and submit a more comprehensive version before its inclusion in the final draft of the SOC’s Fourth Report to the TNC.

2Exporters' Weeks are a foreign trade training program carried out in the different cities of the country.

3The Ministry of Foreign Trade was recently restructured, and on 3 February 2003 it was renamed “Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.”

4The Peruvian Center for Labor Consulting (Centro de Asesoría Laboral del Perú - CEDAL by its Spanish acronym), was established on 11 April 1977 as a non-profit, private non-governmental organization whose main objective is to offer multidisciplinary services and commit to strengthen grassroots social organizations from the fields of labor and civil society.

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