SECTORAL AGREEMENTS ON SERVICES
IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
25 February 1998
Organization of American States, Trade Unit
Free Trade Area of the Americas, Working Group on Services *
The success of market reforms in the 1990s has dramatically increased trade in goods, services and stimulated investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through unilateral actions, multilateral disciplines, and bilateral and regional accords, countries of the Western Hemisphere have moved deliberately and systematically to create conditions conducive to the negotiation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by the year 2005.
The role of trade liberalization as a motor of growth in the Hemisphere was recognized by the Heads of State and Government when, at the Summit of the Americas in December 1994, they decided to establish the FTAA. At the first meeting of Trade Ministers, held in Denver in 1995, the countries “ask[ed] the Tripartite Committee
-- the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean
-- to provide analytical support, technical assistance, and relevant studies within their respective areas of competence, as may be requested by the working groups.”
This compendium on Sectoral Agreements on Services in the Western Hemisphere was prepared by the Trade Unit of the OAS for the FTAA Working Group on Services. It sets out in a comparable format information on provisions on services contained in 167 sectoral agreements which have been signed within the Hemisphere at the subregional and bilateral levels. The compendium includes agreements or memoranda of understanding signed in the areas of financial services, telecommunications, transport, professional services, cultural services, tourism, and film and audiovisual production. The compendium complements an earlier publication by the OAS Trade Unit on Provisions on Trade in Services in Trade and Integration Agreements of the Western Hemisphere (May 1997). Both documents are important not only for the information they contain, but also because they represent steps towards bringing about greater transparency in a highly complex and critical area to the realization of trade promotion and liberalization in the Western Hemisphere. As such, both complement the work on services at the multilateral level within the World Trade Organization through its Council on Trade in Services. The compendium also aims to help advance the dialogue on trade liberalization and economic integration among participants in the FTAA process. It is hoped that the compendium may contribute to the success of the FTAA, as such an ambitious endeavor requires, inter alia, the availability of comprehensive and well organized information.
It is important to acknowledge the people who have made this particular publication possible. The members of the FTAA Working Group on Services have ensured the accuracy of the information contained in the compendium. The coordinator of the FTAA Working Group on Services from Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Francisco Javier Prieto Serigos - has been instrumental in guiding the process. Within the OAS Trade Unit, Sherry M. Stephenson has been the liaison between the OAS and the FTAA Working Group on Services, and has assumed direct responsibility for the preparation of the compendium. She was assisted by Helvia Costa Velloso and Ivonne Zuniga of the OAS Trade Unit.
Continue on to Notes
* This report was prepared by the Organization of American States, Trade Unit at the request of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Working Group on Services and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the OAS or its member states.
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