4 NOVEMBER, 1999

Business Facilitation

  1. We agree to a number of specific business facilitation measures as part of our continuing efforts to achieve progress in creating an FTAA. These measures reflect the substantive work that has emanated from the FTAA process to date. We have adopted a thematic approach to business facilitation and have concentrated our initial work in the areas of customs procedures and enhanced transparency in response to the priorities identified by our business communities.
  2. We are pleased that resources have been identified in the Inter-American Development Bank for technical assistance to facilitate implementation of these measures, particularly in smaller economies. In particular we appreciate the willingness of the Multilateral Investment Fund to consider financial support for the implementation of these measures.
  3. In the area of customs, we agree to implement, beginning on January 1, 2000, the eight specific measures set out in Annex II to this Declaration. These measures will contribute significantly to the conduct of business in the hemisphere by reducing transaction costs and creating a more consistent and predictable business environment.
  4. The transparency measures outlined in Annex III will make our procedures and regulations better known and more accessible to the public. The information contained in Annex III will be kept current and relevant to our business communities and other interested parties, taking advantage of new technologies.
  5. We agree that business facilitation is an ongoing process and we have directed the TNC:
    1. to supervise the full implementation of these measures by the target date of our next Ministerial meeting;
    2. to facilitate the provision of technical assistance for implementing the measures, in particular for the smaller economies;
    3. to review progress and report to us at our next meeting; and
    4. to identify, consider and recommend additional business facilitation measures, calling on experts as appropriate, and report to us at our next meeting.
  6. We note that in addition to our work, initiatives that improve the business climate are proceeding in the hemisphere in other fora as part of the broader effort being made on trade and economic integration.