|Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA
FTAA - TRADE NEGOTIATIONS COMMITTEE
COSTA RICA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, CANADA, MEXICO, CHILE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, PANAMA, COLOMBIA, PERU AND BOLIVIA
VISION OF THE FTAA
In December 1994, the Leaders of 34 countries of the Hemisphere participating in the first Summit of the Americas signed the Declaration of Principles and the Miami Action Plan, one of the most important elements of which is the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Since then, we have recognized the importance of the FTAA project to the growth and development of the countries in the Hemisphere and have played an active and constructive role throughout the process.
The Ministers agreed in Buenos Aires in April 2001 that the FTAA negotiations would be concluded in January 2005 for the Agreement to come into effect no later than December of that year. Leaders confirmed this timetable at their meeting in Quebec. In this respect, we reiterate our commitment to meet the deadlines established for the conclusion, as a single undertaking, of a comprehensive multilateral agreement that expands and strengthens economic integration in the Hemisphere.
It is therefore essential to maintain a high level of ambition in the negotiations, and to intensify our efforts to maximize the opening of our markets through the establishment of high levels of disciplines in line with the agreements already in existence in the Hemisphere and the World Trade Organization.
We believe that the FTAA negotiations should aim for the highest level of ambition possible, while taking into account the needs of smaller economies and the different levels of development. Priority therefore needs to be given to the exchange of constructive ideas in all areas in such a way that consensus can be reached among the delegations, regarding the architecture of the FTAA.
We do not therefore favor the creation of mechanisms that aim to distinguish between one negotiating area and another in terms of their importance. Only by adopting obligations in each and every one of the areas under negotiation in the FTAA will it be possible to establish the balance needed for each of the participating countries to benefit from this negotiation process.
Furthermore, and in view of the differences in the levels of development and size of economies, efforts must be devoted to finding ways to provide opportunities to facilitate their integration through the establishment of appropriate mechanisms, such as longer phase-out periods.
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