|Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA
FTAA - COMMITTEE OF
GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
Ángel Ramírez González
Submitted by: The Customs-Free Zones of the Americas Committee (CZFA), a non-governmental, non-profit, non-political organization that supports customs-free zones in Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina
Negotiating Group: Market Access
Topic: Goods manufactured in customs-free zones should receive, through mechanisms that harmonize the existing incentives, the benefits of the tariff elimination programs accorded under the FTAA and, given the complexity of the topic and of the different systems operating in the various FTAA customs-free zones, the Tripartite Committee needs to study the topic further.
Rationale: Business representatives from the Customs-Free Zones sector of countries in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, at a meeting during the Seventh Business Forum of the Americas held in Quito, Ecuador, consider that:
1. Customs-Free Zones are effective tools that generate employment and welfare in our countries. They allow for the creation, in our very own cities and regions, of the growth and economic development opportunities that the population needs, thus preventing migration to other latitudes.
2. It is imperative that countries in the Americas contemplate instruments and mechanisms to promote and conserve both domestic and foreign investment related to the manufacturing of products for external markets, with the corresponding impact on generating employment and development.
3. Most international foreign trade agreements, among them the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), provide for and accept the origin of goods produced in customs-free zones, to which end its incentives were harmonized after a transitional period had elapsed.
4. Most countries in the Americas have a free zone mechanism in place, and a high percentage of their manufactured products, services, and logistical operations targeted both to international and domestic markets, depend to varying degrees on that mechanism, as the case may be.
5. The basic objective of free zones is to promote value added and foreign trade in both goods and services; this objective is fully consistent with those of the FTAA.
6. At the Seventh Business Forum of the Americas held in Quito, Ecuador, most country representatives were in favor of granting the benefits accorded under the FTAA to products manufactured in the customs-free zones, provided that they comply with the rules of origin.
1. Immediately suggest to the Tripartite Committee, that with the assistance of the Customs-Free Zones of the Americas Committee (CZFA), which encompasses the majority of customs-free zones and customs-free zone associations of the continent, they should prepare an inventory of the number of customs-free zones, businesses, jobs and of regional development, and its impact on trade with FTAA countries.
2. Suggest to the Tripartite Committee that, with the assistance of the Committee of the Customs-Free Zones of the Americas Committee (CZFA), they should prepare an inventory of the incentives granted by each country to the customs-free zones and to their users, against the background of the incentives allowed and prohibited under the WTO and under the transition regime envisaged by this same organization.
3. Create a commission, within the FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) and with the support of the Committee of the Customs-Free Zones of the Americas Committee (CZFA), to provide a formula which would allow for the coexistence of customs-free zones, and for the harmonization of their incentives over time, in such a way as to attract increased investment related to the manufacturing of products and to services, as the FTAA progresses.
4. We urge the Negotiating Group on Market Access to inform the FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) of the importance of customs-free zones mechanisms within FTAA countries, as a tool for creating jobs, adding value, transferring technology, and diversifying exports.
5. We request that the Negotiating Group on Market Access seek a consensus so that goods manufactured in customs-free zones are accorded the tariff benefits of the FTAA, provided that they meet the agreed origin requirements.
6. We ask the Negotiating Group on Market Access to seek a consensus so that international logistical centers covered under the customs-free regime can be used in such a way that FTAA tariff benefits continue to be applied for goods originating in FTAA member countries that pass through these centers, provided that such goods are not subject to transformation and are duly certified to that effect.
|governmental contact points