|Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA|
FTAA - COMMITTEE
OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
CONTRIBUTION IN RESPONSE TO THE OPEN AND ONGOING INVITATION
SERVICES WORKSHOP RECOMMENDATIONS
1) GENERAL POINTS
The service workshop deeply appreciates the opportunity to provide the following recommendations for the conduct of the FTAA negotiations.
We reiterate our support for previous ABF recommendations which call for the progressive, complete liberalization of all sectors in a balanced manner.
The FTAA should liberalize trade in services beyond the level achieved in the GATS.
We ask that FTAA negotiators provide
a response to our recommendations after they have the opportunity to
2) AGREED RECOMMENDATIONS
As recommended in Toronto, all service sectors and sub-sectors should be progressively and completely liberalized.
B. MFN AND NATIONAL TREATMENT
The FTAA should provide MFN treatment on an immediate and unconditional bases to all the parties, and national treatment to all services and service suppliers. The parties should respect the principles of coexistence between the FTAA and subregional or bilateral agreements with higher levels of liberazation.
MFN and national treatment commitments should only apply to those entites that perform substantial commercial activities in the FTAA region.
The FTAA should prohibit all quantitative restrictions, both discriminatory and non-discriminatory, in the service sector.
The FTAA should incorporate a framework for regulatory transparency and domestic regulation that includes the following elements: new laws and regulations should be promulgated with notice of the proposed law or regulation and a reasonable period of time for public comment; there should be a reasonable interval between the adoption of the measure and its legal entry into force; and final laws or regulations should be published.
Measures effecting trade in services should be published.
The FTAA should promote policies of Universal Service in accordance with the mandate from the Summit of the Americas. The policies should be compatible with free competition in the framework of the WTO and the recommendations of the OAS (CITEL and others) basing the eventual subsidies on the net cost of the service to be supported.
The Agreement should promote ambitious liberalization while respecting the need for appropriate and least trade restrictive regulation. With respect to domestic regulation of services, the parties shall assure that measures effecting trade in services are administered in a reasonable, objective and impartial manner and shall not create any discrimination against foreign suppliers.
In regulated sectors, FTAA members shall establish independent, impartial Regulators with economic autonomy and adequate enforcement authority, including with respect to prevention of anti-competitive conduct, access to essential services and management of scarce resources.
Recognizing national sovereignty, the FTAA should support the reduction of asymmetries in the WTO offers of the different countries and their respective regulatory frameworks.
E. MARKET ACCESS
Negotiators should use an approach that provides for the most effective liberalization possible.
Parties to the FTAA should avoid double taxation and should not adopt measures or taxes that discriminate between methods or technologies of like services or service suppliers.
The FTAA should create an “FTAA Visa” that facilitates the temporary entry of natural persons for all services sectors covered in country commitments. This special regime should expedite treatment for professional and managerial employees who visit FTAA countries for temporary periods, not exceeding 364 days.
During the FTAA negotiations, FTAA countries should not adopt new measures restricting trade in services within the FTAA region.
Where barriers to services trade will be phased out, FTAA countries should, as a minimum, begin the liberalization from their current levels of openness.
Services market access negotiations should commence as soon as possible.
The FTAA negotiations on express delivery services should proceed on a sector-specific basis
The FTAA negotiations on express delivery services should proceed on the basis of the definition for express delivery services established by the sector by consensus (see Annex).
The countries should avoid discrimination (both in legal/taxes) of Direct Selling as defined in the Annex, as compared to other distribution channels.
Recognizing the importance of telecommunications to economic development and the desirability of maximizing teledensity, the nations of the hemisphere shall make full commitments for liberalization of telecommunications services, including the GATS Reference Paper commitments concerning, for example, anti-competitive conduct, interconnection, transparency, independent regulator, and the regulator´s management of scarce resources.
The FTAA should promote arbitration procedures for the rapid resolution of commercial disputes between service operators as an alternative to litigation.
3) BUSINESS FACILITATION MEASURES
A. All business facilitation measures from the Toronto ABF should be implemented completely and immediately.
B. FTAA members should limit the extent to which licenses are required to provide services. Where such licenses are nonetheless utilized, FTAA members should: establish clear licensing requirements and procedures that are directly related to the licensees´ ability to provide the service; take action on the license application within a specified period of time; and provide a clearly reasoned rationale for rejected applications. Transparency procedures in licensing and regulation outlined above, should be adopted immediately.
C. As a priority measure, the nations of the hemisphere should adopt a system of improved, standardized, and publicly available statistics on trade in services.
Some participants proposed to provide an illustrative list of services sectors to be covered by the FTAA, but two delegations opposed this proposal. Sectors which were proposed for the illustrative list were: Customs and Harbor Services; Direct Selling; Distribution and Marketing; Energy; Environment; Express Delivery Services; Financial; Health; Professional; Software and Information Technology; Telecommunications; Tourism and Transportation.
Some participants supported a “negative list” approach to the market access negotiations, but some supported a “positive list” approach.
Authorities of the Workshop:
Chairman: Timothy J. Richards
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