October 23, 2000
COMMITTEE OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
CONTRIBUTION IN RESPONSE TO THE OPEN INVITATION
The Council of the Americas (Consejo de las Américas)
Council of the Americas
Statement of the Council of the
To the Committee of Government Representatives on Civil Society
The Council of the Americas strongly
supports the Free Trade Area of the Americas effort, and believes that
negotiations should be completed no later than December 31, 2003 to allow
sufficient time for the agreement to take effect on January 1, 2005.
Successful implementation of previously
agreed upon business facilitation measures will be a critical test of the
efficacy of the agreement. Meanwhile, adoption of further proposed
measures, in customs and other areas, will bring increased support and
momentum to the negotiating effort. A number of specific recommendations
are made in the enclosed report.
Meeting the Ministers’ objective of
completing bracketed texts in each of the negotiating areas for the April,
2001 Ministerial will be an important benchmark for the negotiating
process. We urge that this goal be met.
Elimination of tariff and non-tariff
barriers to trade, investment reform, intellectual property protection,
and access to dispute settlement are all keys to spurring economic
development and growth through economic integration. We have made specific
recommendations in these and other negotiating areas in our statement.
Recognizing that there is no consensus
within the Hemisphere at this time on how labor and environment should be
treated in the FTAA agenda, we reiterate our previously submitted
suggestion that governments commit not to weaken existing environmental,
health, safety or labor measures in an effort to gain competitive
advantage pending the resolution of how to address labor and the
environment in the FTAA.