Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA


Trade Negotiations

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October 4, 2003

Original: Spanish
Translation: FTAA Secretariat





We acknowledge the political, economic, and social evolution in the Hemisphere since the beginning of this process in 1994 and we reaffirm that the original approach continues to be valid, without prejudice to the fact that in light of the complexity of the task that lies ahead, there is a need to determine attainable goals and objectives under the present circumstances. Our vision of the FTAA, consequently, is that of an Agreement whereby the following will be accomplished:

a) a complete liberalization of trade in goods (agricultural and industrial) by the end of a transition period of up to fifteen years;
b) a simple, effective, and transparent origin regime that provides for the possibility of regional accumulation to achieve greater trade integration in the Hemisphere;
c) the application of the MFN principle as of the entry into force of the Agreement, except as regards the consideration of special and differential treatment for less-developed countries and smaller economies;
d) the elimination of all forms of export subsidies for trade in agricultural goods, at the time of the Agreement’s entry into force;
e) the offsetting of the distorting effects to hemispheric trade in agricultural goods caused by domestic support measures;
f) that sanitary and phytosanitary measures-necessary to protect human, animal, and plant health-are applied in a manner that does not constitute a means of arbitrary or disguised restriction to hemispheric trade;
g) eliminate and prevent unnecessary technical barriers to hemispheric trade;
h) improve the rules and procedures regarding the operation and application of antidumping laws and countervailing duties so as not to create unjustified barriers to free trade in the Hemisphere;
i) guarantee that the benefits of the FTAA liberalization process are not undermined by anti-competitive business practices;
j) progressive liberalization of trade in services, within a hemispheric framework of minimum common disciplines that ensure transparency and certainty;
k) a fair and transparent legal framework in the Hemisphere that promotes investment through the creation of a stable and predictable environment, complemented by specific commitments on market access and national treatment;
l) a hemispheric framework of disciplines on transparency in government procurement;
m) ensure adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, while promoting adherence to the WIPO agreements and cooperating to ensure compliance therewith;
n) a fair, transparent, and effective hemispheric dispute settlement mechanism among FTAA member countries;
o) a hemispheric cooperation program that helps developing countries and smaller economies to improve, inter alia, their trade management capacities and diversify their production and export base;
p) the creation of a structural fund to balance the asymmetries facing less- developed economies and smaller economies;
q) ensure the participation of civil society;
r) the existence of an efficient Secretariat whose establishment, location, and organization serve the interests of all of its members;

Uruguay wants an FTAA that neither hinders nor imposes. An FTAA that does not hinder countries with this level of ambition from making it a reality. But it is also essential that it not impose hemispheric-wide disciplines, once the Agreement enters into force, on those countries that are unable to comply with said disciplines given the current situation of the negotiations and their various national realities.

Regarding the more sensitive issues, it may be necessary to modulate the Agreement in terms of time and scope. The GATT multilateral rounds, with their voluntary adherence agreements, may provide us with examples of how to resolve this type of situation.

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