Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA


Trade Negotiations

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                                                                                                January 26, 2004

Original: Spanish
Translation: FTAA Secretariat



Name(s) Coral Pey
Organization(s) Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo y Responsable, Sindicato Sodimac Homecenter, Central Unitaria de Trabajadores – Chile, Consumer’s International, Colegio de Profesores – AG, Sindicato Nº 2 de Profesionales y Técnicos ESSEL, Asociación Nacional de Empleados Fiscales, ANEF; Federación de Trabajadores Portuarios; CONSFETEMA; Coalición Chilena para la diversidad cultural; ASONG; CONADECUS; CODEPU; Internacional de Servicios Públicos, ISP
Country Chile

FTAA entities addressed in the contribution

Negotiating Group on Intellectual Property Rights
Negotiating Group on Investment
Negotiating Group on Market Access
Negotiating Group on Services
Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society
FTAA Process (check if the contribution is of relevance to all the entities)


The FTAA Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society and the Office of International Relations (DIRECON) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a seminar on “FTAA and Services” on 23 September 2003.

In order to disseminate information, articulate ideas, and submit specific proposals on this topic, Centro IDEA (IDEA Center of the University of Santiago de Chile – USACH), Coalición por la Diversidad Cultural (Coalition for Cultural Diversity), Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo, Etico y Responsable (Chilean Alliance for Fair, Ethical and Responsible Trade – ACJR), and Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (Central Workers' Union – CUT), held a preparatory meeting on 22 September to discuss the issues that were to be addressed during the official meeting. The conclusions were included in a report that was read and distributed at the seminar.

This meeting also addressed reflections and proposals on basic services that were not initially considered at the official meeting and which were subsequently incorporated under "Other issues".

The ideas that arose from both meetings were used to prepare this document1, the objective of which is to make a contribution, through citizen participation and enforceability, to the upcoming hemispheric meetings (official and civil society FTAA-related meetings in Miami), and to the different national sectors in the drafting of proposals, strategies, and alternatives vis-à-vis the North-South trade negotiations being furthered by Chile and the region for more than a decade.

The hemispheric project, proposed by the United States, to create a hemispheric free trade area—FTAA—is another element in the United States’ significantly unipolar economic, military, and technology-based scenario. Although this trend has existed since the end of the Cold War, the Bush administration has made it an increasingly important item on its agenda following the events of 11 September.

On the one hand, Latin America has been undergoing a process tending towards multilateralism, which entails more emphasis on subregional integration processes. This trend is evidenced in the attempts made by the current governments of Argentina and Brazil to strengthen Mercosur, and the role played by these two countries at the last WTO meeting (establishment of G21) in proposing linkages with Southern Cone countries, and the option to negotiate using a positive list approach (detailing the issues to be negotiated), as has been indicated by these countries, instead of a “negative list”, which requires negotiating all the products and areas provided for by the WTO.

On the other hand, Chile and other countries of South America (Bolivia, for example) are promoting a bilateral trade strategy to make the FTAA feasible, while also furthering trade liberalization, to surpass the obstacles that arise at the multilateral level. The Services agreement being negotiated in the FTAA is based on such logic2.

This strategy tends to exacerbate the social and environmental impacts of trade liberalization processes, characterized by increased asymmetries among countries, which have varying effects on women; a propensity to deregulate the economy; and a gradual deterioration of a State in which wellbeing had been the norm.

A sustainable development strategy, based on the Development Agenda proposed by ECLAC and UN organizations as a priority issue, must therefore be reformulated for the region.

The profound differences between the proposals of developed countries and those of the countries of the South at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in early September, reassert this need. Even though the countries of the South did not impose an alternative to the corporate agenda, they were strengthened by their joint counterproposal to the developed countries’ agreement on agriculture, which entailed greater trade liberalization requirements for the underdeveloped countries while the developed countries’ protectionist practices remained a part of their production structures.

Agreement on Services
The countries negotiating the FTAA will become signatories to an agreement that already exists in the WTO: the General Agreement on Trade in Services, which evidences the intention to deepen commitments reached at the multilateral level, which would make the FTAA a "WTO-plus" agreement.
A crucial issue in this trade-related process is "national treatment", a regulation aimed at protecting foreign investment.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning the unidirectionality of investment flows, which originate in the developed countries that have imposed processes requiring that underdeveloped countries open their economies.
"Commercial presence" has been particularly important in the services sector, since it has meant that public goods such as education, health, and culture have become commercial services, which contravene the inalienable rights of human beings, ratified by all of the countries in the United Nations Charter.
In the case of Chile, specific experiences exist on the impact of commercial presence on strategic sectors, such as finance, telecommunications, or energy. These repercussions include deregulation, the general increase in user tariffs, and job uncertainty as a result of the outsourcing of services.
These examples show that the Chilean government lacks effective regulations to safeguard the human, economic, social, and cultural rights of the people in trade liberalization processes.

Based on the foregoing, civil society organizations participating in the seminars on Services in the FTAA made the following demands:

1. Services (general):
- perform a comprehensive assessment (Article 19 of GATS) that takes civil society contributions into account.
- formulate an emergency clause for situations in which irreversible commitments may not be met.
- clearly differentiate between services and goods.
- special and differential treatment for underdeveloped countries and smaller economies
- exercise regulatory sovereignty: the FTAA must ensure that governments have the capacity to enact regulations, legislation and other internal measures to safeguard public interests.
-continue public contracting to counteract the outsourcing process.

1.1. Basic services:
a) Education: to respect and take into consideration the following clause in the negotiations:
(1) Exclude the issue of education from international trade negotiations and, if applicable, grant it specific regulatory status other than the general services regime of the current agreement, which provides for the observance of international human rights legislation regarding the right to education and the power of the signatory States to regulate and control agents that provide primary, secondary, and higher education (third level); as well as to support national education through public policies and/or subsidize national education. This clause could be extended to education at the fourth level; that is, technical education and training.
(2) In addition, educational policies with provisions for gender issues, international rights of women, and education-related rights for girls will be promoted.
(3) In connection with the aforementioned, the creation and support of forums for the participation of civil society and institutional-governmental entities that work to monitor and assess developments related to the education clause at the national, regional, and international level.

b) Culture:
(1) That the FTAA negotiations formulate an exception or a broad present and future reservation to cover cultural expressions, as was the case in the Chile-Canada Agreement of 1994, which envisages the non-applicability of the "national treatment", "most-favored-nation" and “market access” clauses to issues concerning cultural creation, production, and distribution, or to the education sector. That cultural goods and services only be considered in the FTAA insofar as the elimination of tariff barriers is concerned.
(2) That the FTAA negotiations, when considering culture-related exceptions or reservations, take into account new support means for cultural production, such as digital support, as well as cultural goods and services for which there is no physical support. In this regard, we request that the cultural exception or reservation not be limited to the chapter on services but that it also include the chapter on electronic commerce.
(3) That intellectual property-related FTAA negotiations, as well as those on cultural goods and services, allow for the effective participation of civil society involved with this issue, in an attempt to ensure that these regulations favor their authors as well as the country's human and democratic development. Our aspiration is that it embodies the spirit generated in the regulations at the level of intellectual property rights, under the principles of human rights and universal access to artistic works, thus preventing a copyright from being transformed into a right to copy, which is industrial and not cultural in nature.
(4) That in all goods and services negotiations, whether bilateral, regional or multilateral, the FTAA signatory countries do not assume liberalization commitments for any of the so-named cultural goods and services, so as to prevent the partial or complete surrendering of their cultural sovereignty. The States need to maintain their regulatory autonomy on this issue.

c) Health:
(1) Exclude the health issue from the international trade negotiations and, if applicable, grant it specific regulatory status other than the general services regime of the current agreement, which provides for the observance of international human rights law as regards the right to health.

2. Civil society participation:
(1) Consider studies and proposals from other civil society groups which, to date, have not been sufficiently taken into account by negotiators.
(2) Incorporate, in a binding manner, the different actors and proposals related to these processes: a Social Forum for Integration must be established to open channels for direct citizen participation. A new approach and active and purposeful dialogue between the negotiation entities and civil society is also required.
(3) Ensure that this forum compiles the experiences of other processes, such as MERCOSUR’s Social and Economic Council, or the Andean Labor Advisory Council of the Andean Community or the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Chile, formerly the Council for Social Dialogue.
(4) Safeguard the right to have access to complete information on all the stages of the negotiations and incorporate citizens’ proposals resulting from this process.

Migration processes and agreements:

(1) Respect and recognize the rights of migrant workers, included in the different international multilateral fora for international law, such as the United Nations and International Labor Organization (ILO).

Participating Organizations:
Universidad de Santiago de Chile (University of Santiago of Chile)
Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo y Responsable (Chilean Alliance for Fair and Responsible Trade)
Sindicato Sodimac Homecenter (Sodimac Homecenter Workers’ Union)
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores - Chile (Chile Workers’ Union)
Consumer’s International
Colegio de Profesores – AG (Professors’ Association)
Sindicato Nº 2 de Profesionales y Técnicos ESSEL (Second ESSEL Professionals and Technicians Union)
Agrupación Nacional de Empleados Fiscales – ANEF (National Association of Fiscal Employees)
Federación de Trabajadores Portuarios (Federation of Port Workers)
Confederación Nacional de Sindicatos y Federaciones de Trabajadores Electrometalúrgicos, Mineros, Automotrices y Ramos conexos de Chile – CONSFETEMA (National Confederation of Electrometallurgical, Mining, Automobile, and Related Sector Workers’ Unions and Federations)
Coalición Chilena para la Diversidad Cultural (Chilean Coalition for Cultural Diversity)
Asociación de Organismos No Gubernamentales – ASONG (Association of Non-governmental organizations)
Corporación Nacional de Consumidores y Usuarios – CONADECUS (National Corporation of Consumers and Users)
Comité de Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo - CODEPU (Committee for the Defense of Peoples Rights)
Internacional de Servicios Públicos – ISP (Public Services International)

1 This document includes comments made by Olga Ulianova, political commentator of Centro IDEA; Roberto Pizarro, academic and former ECLAC consultant; Claudio Lara, Consumer’s International/ACJR; Esteban Maturana, President of CONFUSAM; Paulo Slachevsky, of Coalición por la Diversidad Cultural; Loreto Muñoz, Colegio de Profesores de Chile. AG; René Tabilo, of the Telephone Union (Sindicato de Telefónicas); and Coral Pey, of Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo, Ëtico y Responsable, ACJR.

2 In this manner, the WTO Uruguay Round rules for the liberalization of investments, services, government procurement, and intellectual property are gradually being implemented.

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