Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA

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SG/TU/WG.SERV/DOC.2/97/Rev. 2
25 February 1998
Original: English



1. Air Transport: 

Section B, Bilateral Sectoral Agreements: the OAS Trade Unit does not have the text of the Agreements signed by Chile.

2. Cultural Services: 

Section B, Bilateral Sectoral Agreements: 

i) Chile-Venezuela and Colombia-Venezuela: the OAS Trade Unit has only the text for the recent revisions, but not the agreements’ original text.

ii) Chile-Brazil and Chile-Peru: the OAS Trade Unit has received an interpretation of the agreements, but does not have their original text.

3. Tourism:

Section B, Bilateral Sectoral Agreements: 

i) Colombia-Peru: the “Agreement on Tourism between Colombia’s National Tourism Corporation and Peru’s Fund for Tourism Promotion”, signed on April 24, 1988, was not provided, but it is mentioned in the “Agreement for the Creation of the Binational Colombian-Peruvian Commission of Tourism” (7/94).

ii) With the exception of the agreement signed between Argentina and Colombia “Acuerdo Complementario de Cooperación Técnica en Materia Turística”, the OAS Trade Unit does not have the text of the Agreements signed by Argentina.


Western Hemisphere agreements relating to services exist at several different levels. At the multilateral level the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) contains binding rules and disciplines for all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), covering all countries in the Western Hemisphere. At the regional and bilateral levels, there exist several trade and integration agreements which contain substantive provisions on trade in services. Finally, alongside these comprehensive trade and integration agreements numerous sectoral agreements have been signed on services, again either at the regional or at the bilateral level. This compendium, prepared in response to a request by the FTAA Working Group on Services, surveys all sectoral agreements on services presently in effect in the Western Hemisphere which are of a “stand-alone” nature and apply to a specific sector only. It thus complements the earlier document entitled Provisions on Trade in Services in Trade and Integration Agreements of the Western Hemisphere, also prepared by the Trade Unit of the Organization of American States and published in May 1997.

Seven service sectors are covered in this compendium: financial services, telecommunications, transport (air, maritime, land, river and multimodal), professional services, cultural services, tourism, and film and audiovisual production. The compendium has been prepared on the basis of information on agreements signed by 27 FTAA participants, provided to the OAS Trade Unit by members of the FTAA Working Group on Services. Based on this information, a total of 167 sectoral agreements on services of various types have been concluded by countries of the Western Hemisphere. Of these, 41 have been concluded at the sub-regional level, and 126 at the bilateral level (of which 9 are memoranda of understanding). This information is summarized in the table on page 2.

Part I of this compendium provides a listing of all of the sectoral agreements on services in the Western Hemisphere, categorized by both sector and level (sub-regional and/or bilateral), and indicates the title of the agreement, signatories and date of entry into force. Part II summarizes the main provisions of each of the agreements listed, again by service sector. Although the provisions vary for the different sectors and agreements, they are summarized following a general format: legal name, date and members; objectives; definitions; implementing or competent national entities; entry into force and duration; and, when available: areas of cooperation; conditions for use or operation; technical cooperation; consultations and settlement of disputes; transparency; and recognition. Part III summarizes the Partial Scope Agreements which contain provisions on services that have been signed in the context of ALADI.

With respect to the number of existing sectoral agreements on services, in the area of financial services no bilateral sectoral agreements have been signed, but there are three sub-regional agreements signed by ALADI countries. In the area of telecommunications, 2 sub-regional sectoral agreements have been signed as well as 3 bilateral sectoral agreements and 1 memorandum of understanding. In the area of transport services, 27 sub-regional and 78 bilateral sectoral agreements, and 9 memoranda of understanding have been signed, the majority of which are in the area of air transport (68 bilateral agreements and 8 memoranda of understanding relating to questions of routing). Finally, in the areas of professional and cultural services, tourism, film and audiovisual production, 8 sub-regional, 50 bilateral sectoral agreements and 3 memoranda of understanding have been signed.

The Andean Community Decisions account for 22 of the 41 sub-regional agreements on services. The sub-regional agreements with the largest number of signatories are the Inter American Convention on Maritime Transport, signed in 1963 by 11 countries, and the Ibero American Convention on Film and Audiovisual Production, signed in 1989 by 12 countries.

Of the 167 sectoral agreements in the Western Hemisphere, more than half are of a recent nature, have being signed since 1990. This recent trend is especially noticeable in the following sectors: telecommunications, transport, and tourism. In telecommunications, 5 out of 6 agreements were signed in 1990 or later. In the transport sector the recent origin of the agreements is especially striking for the following sub-sectors: multimodal transport, where all agreements were signed in 1990 or after, and land transport, where 11 out of 14 agreements were signed in 1990 or after. For air, maritime and river transport, the recent trend is noticeable for the sub-regional agreements, but less for the bilateral agreements. In tourism, almost all agreements are of a very recent nature, signed in 1990 or after (8 out of 10).

Older agreements can be found in professional and cultural services sectors, and many bilateral agreements in air transport are also of an earlier origin. In professional services, some agreements were signed as early as 1902 and are still valid, but half were signed in 1990 or after. In cultural services many agreements were signed in the 60s, 70s and 80s. In film and audiovisual production only one bilateral agreement was signed after 1990, the other agreements dating from the 1980s.

The legal status of these sectoral agreements has not been analyzed and it is unclear where they stand with respect to the multilateral obligations that have been assumed by countries of the Western Hemisphere under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).


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