Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA

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Trade Negotiations

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January 24, 2002

Original: Spanish
Translation: FTAA Secretariat



Name (s) Antonio Estrany y Gendre
Organization (s) Red Empresarial de Integración Hemisférica (REIH)
Country Argentina



The business entities submitted 22 papers describing the positions, which were analyzed during the workshop.

The recommendations listed in this report were agreed upon after their analysis. Their order implies no prevalence of one over the other.

No consensus was reached as to the recommendation mentioned under the divergences area in this report.

The following recommendations have been reached by consensus.

The FTAA Governments should:

1 - Grant the same fiscal and customs treatment to non-material goods, whether provided physically or digitally, guaranteeing a neutral approach.

2- Grant non-material goods or services delivered electronically tariff treatment at least equivalent to traditional trade, and particularly, avoid withholding taxes on payments for online services or non-material goods originating in other FTAA countries.

3- Not impose any taxes upon the cross-border flow of bits.

4- Promote the convergence and interoperability among networks so as to guarantee the connectivity among them.

5- Promote enlarged access to technological infrastructure (e.g. greater bandwidth) and to the Internet, encouraging a higher degree of e-commerce usage among the countries of the hemisphere.

6- Commit not to establish new customs barriers during the negotiations.

7- Establish a simplified and transparent customs treatment to facilitate international transactions of consumers and express deliveries.

8- Achieve the technological harmonization of customs, and attempt to implement customs procedures in a paperless fashion.

9- Recognize the same validity for digital documentation as for physical documentation.

10- Interact with the community through electronic means.

11- Respect technological freedom at the time of setting technical rules.

12- Assure a deregulated and competitive environment for electronic commerce.

13- Establish rules in relation to the applicable law and the competent jurisdiction in international e-commerce actions, prioritizing the mandatory juridical self-regulation and transparency within a legislative framework harmonized with UNCITRAL's model laws

14- Assure technological neutrality in electronic signature schemes.

15- Promote actions to assure the neutrality of browsing systems as regards certification entities.

16- Promote non-discriminatory policies and allow free competition among the different providers of electronic certificates and means of payment, whether they be national or international, public or private, assuring the mutual recognition in transactions.

17- Make available to all consumers and any other country the use of protocols and cryptographic systems which grant safety lo communications with no restrictions, thus balancing the competition possibilities of al the countries of the hemisphere.

18- When legislating in relation lo consumer protection, maintain a fair balance between the need to protect personal data and the need of operators and users to identify adequately the other party within a self-regulation framework of the industry.

19- Pursue fraud in e-commerce.

20- Update and harmonize legislation in relation lo copyrights to adjust it to e-commerce practices, including by means of digital identifiers to identify each digital object and to allow for the automatic administration of intellectual property as regards content.

21- Assure the provision of intellectual property rights, by copyright owners, avoiding the imposition of non-voluntary licenses and collective management systems.

22- Harmonize administrative and procedural provisions for the effective application of intellectual property rights, including application provisions and protection against piracy of contents distributed online, even if such practice 5 carried out by public bodies.

23- Allow alternative procedures for dispute settlement, both online and traditional, which avoid litigation before the courts.

24- Promote information technology and Internet education in schools.

25- Offer incentives to training and assistance programs for SMEs.

26- Urge the participation of SMEs of all the countries of the hemisphere in bidding and public tenders carried out online.

27- Assess the possibility to simplify proceedings to avoid double taxation.

28- Promote the use on their part of all means for electronic payment of taxes, purchases, and any other public transaction.

29- Exempt providers of communications services from legal responsibilities deriving from the transfer of bits.


Taking into account the achieved progress, renew the term of the Joint Commission of Public and Private Sector Experts on E-commerce of the FTAA, maintaining the non-negotiating status and the mixed participation of the public and private sectors.

Make publicly available the second Report of the Joint Commission of Public and Private Sector Experts on E-commerce of the FTAA to Ministers, as was done with the first Report.

Divergences Area

The recommendation in relation to:

"eliminating tariffs on hardware and software prior to the creation of the Free Trade Area" was not unanimously agreed since one delegation (ALAINEE) expressed 15 disagreement.

The versions in the three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) will have the same value, but in case of doubt as to the scope or meaning of words or language expressions, the Spanish version shall prevail, since the discussion was mostly conducted in such language.

Authorities if the Workshop

Chairman: Ramiro Abel Soto Platero (Uruguay)
Vice-Chairman: Robert Keyes (Canadá)
Rapporteur: Fernando Pasarelli (Argentina)
Vice- Rapporteur: Patricio Carrasco (Ecuador)
Assistant: Silvia García

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