|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
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Recommendations for the E-Commerce Committee
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA), and the U.S. Section of the Brazil-U.S. Business Council welcome this opportunity to present our views on the emerging Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). We strongly support free trade in the hemisphere, and we have previously submitted recommendations to the Committee of Government Representatives on the Participation of Civil Society and to the previous seven meetings of the Americas Business Forum giving our perspective on how the agreement should be framed.
The Internet and information technology are key factors in the process of hemispheric integration. We recommend that the governments in the hemisphere agree during the Quito FTAA Ministerial to take the following actions to build a strong foundation for the final FTAA Agreement, including endorsing the following Business Facilitation proposals:
The FTAA countries should take the necessary steps to ensure the effective protection of privacy with regard to the processing of personal data and transborder data flows on global information networks while allowing the free flow of information, and foster cooperative approaches to privacy protection among governments, consumers, and business, which should recognize a variety of national approaches, including effective self-regulation, based on internationally-accepted principles of fair information practices.
The FTAA countries should take the necessary steps to recognize electronic records and signatures based on the relevant enabling principles contained in the model law on electronic commerce completed by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and take steps to ensure that private arrangements for authenticating transactions are recognized and enforced, that parties are permitted to introduce evidence of these arrangements in court, and that authentication service providers and users from other countries are treated in a non-discriminatory manner.
The FTAA countries should agree not to impose tariffs or taxes on online transactions at rates higher than those levied on non-online transactions.
Unrestricted public access to current and accurate contact information about domain name registrations is a key ingredient in effective enforcement against copyright piracy in the online environment. The FTAA should require signatories to take steps to ensure that the country code domain registries under their control provide this public access, such as by bringing their registration policies into compliance with the WIPO ccTLD Best Practices for the Prevention and Resolution of Intellectual Property Disputes.
We would like to underscore the importance of - and reiterate our support for - the following recommendation, which was endorsed during the negotiation workshop on e-commerce at the VI Americas Business Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
We support the recommendation set forth at the e-commerce negotiation workshop at the 2001 VI Americas Business Forum that prohibits a divergence in taxation rates between online and non-online transactions.
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