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Document Approved by the FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee

November 21, 2003

Original: English




1. At the Ministerial Meeting held on 1 November 2002 in Quito, Ecuador, the Trade Ministers of the FTAA countries approved the Hemispheric Cooperation Program (HCP) and indicated that it is to be treated as a priority by all governments. In accordance with the Quito Declaration, the Hemispheric Cooperation Program is intended to strengthen the capacities of countries seeking assistance to participate in the negotiations, implement their trade commitments, and address the challenges, and maximize the benefits of, hemispheric integration. The Ministers instructed the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) to continue supervising the development of the HCP, with the support of the Consultative Group on Smaller Economies (CGSE), and agreed that a key component for achieving swift, effective progress under the program is the formulation of national and/or subregional strategies to strengthen countries’ trade-related capacities.

2. At its Seventeenth Meeting, held in Panama on October 8 to 9, 2002, the CGSE agreed to adopt a standard format for the formulation of the strategies, which was prepared by the Tripartite Committee and approved by the CGSE at its Nineteenth Meeting (29-30 January 2003). The CGSE requested the support of the Tripartite Committee and other donors for the drafting of the strategies.

3. At the Twenty-First Meeting of the CGSE, the CGSE approved the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Hemispheric Cooperation Program (FTAA.sme/12), the purpose of which is to propose mechanisms for the implementation and financing of the program. Among other activities, the Action Plan establishes that meetings be held with development and finance officials of donor countries, international cooperation institutions and agencies, and interested private entities, to discuss the financing and implementation of the HCP, with a view to finalizing said cooperation.

Initial meeting between donors and countries requesting assistance

4. As part of the process to implement the HCP, and as agreed at the Fourteenth TNC Meeting, held in San Salvador, the initial meeting between potential donors and those requesting assistance for the implementation of the HCP was held in Washington, DC, on 14 and 15 October 2003. The meeting was sponsored by the CGSE and hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

5. The inaugural session was presided over by the President of the IDB. Statements were made by the FTAA Co-Chairs, the Secretary General of the OAS, and the representative of the Executive Secretary of ECLAC.

6. The meeting also was attended by ministers, vice-ministers, ambassadors, and other high-level representatives of the countries participating in the FTAA process, as well as by bilateral donors, and regional, hemispheric, and international institutions. In accordance with the agenda approved by the CGSE, the Chair of the CGSE gave a presentation on the HCP and the process proposed for matching assistance needs and donors. The Tripartite Committee made a presentation on the process of preparing the strategies and presented a summary of the common cooperation needs identified in them.

7. The main focus of the meeting was on national and/or subregional sessions with potential donors for the countries’ presentation of specific strategies and projects, the definition of dialogue modalities, and the organization of future roundtable meetings. In total, 1 subregional strategy and 26 national strategies were presented.

8. The main results of the meeting are as follows:

  • A dialogue was initiated between potential donors and countries and/or subregions seeking assistance. The countries had the opportunity to present their needs, and the potential donors the opportunity to indicate possible areas for future cooperation. Potential donors expressed an interest and indicated general support for the HCP.
  • There was agreement to continue the dialogue on the basis of the strategies at the subregional, sectoral, issue-specific, and when necessary, national level.
  • It was noted that the strategies are living documents which are evolving, and that both potential donors and countries seeking assistance expressed interest in their further evolution and refinement.
  • Common cooperation needs that could be satisfied at the subregional level became apparent and should be pursued.
  • It was recommended that coordination among donors be enhanced in order to increase the effectiveness of the available cooperation.
  • Some subregions identified the next steps they will be taking to implement their strategies, which include holding roundtable meetings with the support of the CGSE and the Tripartite Committee and the relevant regional institutions that could serve as venues for these meetings.
  • Some donors suggested that countries seeking assistance should examine their strategies within the context of programs currently being funded or considered in order to determine whether some of the needs could be accommodated within these programs, so as to avoid duplication.
  • Countries seeking assistance requested that other additional forms of cooperation, including financial and non-financial assistance, be included with a view to enabling countries to take on the challenges posed by the FTAA and in light of their limited indebtedness capacity.
  • The importance of the strategies being carried out within the framework of the countries’ national development priorities and programs was highlighted.
  • It was recognized that the HCP has been envisaged as a mechanism for assisting in the integration of the Hemisphere under the FTAA.

9. Future actions:

  • In order to further the implementation of the HCP, the CGSE agreed that the countries and/or subregions, in coordination with the CGSE and with the support of the Tripartite Committee, would seek to convene subsequent roundtable meetings with potential donors.
  • The countries and/or subregions, with the support of the CGSE, the Tripartite Committee, and subregional institutions, will determine the topics, sectors, dates and venues for the roundtable meetings between those requesting and those offering cooperation. In this way, the basic logistics of subsequent roundtable meetings will be coordinated. In particular, the CGSE, with the support of the Tripartite Committee, will aim to ensure a high level of participation of potential donors and beneficiaries; will identify the countries’ areas of interest; and will assess and follow up on the results of the roundtable meetings.
  • The Tripartite Committee will identify the specific common topics or sectors included in the national strategies and will report these to the CGSE, which, based on this information, will organize thematic or sectoral roundtable meetings, on the initiative of the CGSE or FTAA countries.
  • It was recognized that wider participation by potential donors in subsequent roundtable meetings would be desirable.
  • It was agreed that Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs and other relevant ministries in the beneficiary countries shall be involved in the process so as to avoid any duplication and ensure effective coordination at the national level.
  • The CGSE, with the input of member countries and the help of the Tripartite Committee, will establish a mechanism for following up on the implementation of the HCP, if possible at its next meeting.
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