WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will
lead the U.S. effort in Miami November 20 -21 to advance the Free Trade Area of the
Americas (FTAA) so as to achieve the FTAA's promise of hemispheric economic growth,
development and opportunity through a comprehensive agreement that will create a
hemispheric marketplace. Commerce Secretary Don Evans is scheduled to join
Zoellick in Miami on November 19 - 20.
"Free trade means opening markets and promoting opportunity,
prosperity and hope for all our peoples. The United States is deeply committed to creating
a hemispheric marketplace through a comprehensive FTAA, and we're proud to host
this Ministerial in Miami. Our shared hemispheric vision involves bringing down
tariffs and barriers and cutting red tape so that we can lower prices at home and sell more
U.S. goods and services abroad," said Zoellick. "The FTAA offers a vision of
hemispheric trade, prosperity and democracy that dates back to the 1820's. So it is
not surprising that it involves addressing tough issues and meeting difficult challenges.
The Miami FTAA meetings will not finalize the agreement, but should put us on the
right track to complete these historic negotiations."
"Miami is a wonderful city that has put a lot of work into hosting
this meeting. We appreciate Miami's hospitality, and vitality, and I want to thank
Governor Jeb Bush, along with the leaders and people of Miami and Florida for their
warmth and work," added Zoellick.
Involving 34 countries in an 800 million person marketplace, the
FTAA was launched formally at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami, and is
scheduled to be completed by January, 2005.
Prior to the formal Ministerial, Vice Ministers will meet for the
Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) from November 15 - 18 are preparing the draft
Miami Ministerial Declaration. Ministers will work to issue a statement that
provides direction to the final phase of negotiations.
Zoellick will be in Miami on November 18 and 19 to meet with his
colleagues and to hear from business and civil society representatives, followed by
the official Ministerial on November 20 - 21.
In February 2003, the U.S. put forward bold and ambitious offers
in the five key areas of the negotiations: consumer and industrial goods; agriculture;
services; investment; and, government procurement. The United States and Brazil assumed the
co-chairmanship of the FTAA negotiations in November 2002. The United States has
hosted two "miniministerials" among a representative grouping of countries, most recently in
suburban Virginia on November 8, in order to facilitate discussion among
The U.S. strategy of competitive liberalization: Opening markets
globally, regionally and bilaterally:
While focused on the FTAA, the United States is pursuing trade
liberalization globally in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and with bilateral Free Trade
Agreements (FTAs) with other countries. Within the Western Hemisphere, the U.S
recently finalized an FTA with Chile, and is negotiating an FTA with five Central American
nations (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua). In addition, the
U.S. announced its intention to begin negotiations with the Dominican Republic in
In his bilateral meetings, Zoellick will discuss ways to advance
the FTAA negotiations, review efforts in the WTO, and discuss bilateral trade issues and
opportunities with countries involved in FTA negotiations, as well as those in the
Western Hemisphere which seek FTAs with the United States.
An important facet of the FTAA is the commitment to addressing the
special needs and concerns of small economies. The United States has been a strong
supporter of the Hemispheric Cooperation Program (HCP), a trade capacity building
program designed to help countries participate in, implement and adjust to trade
negotiations. Such programs contribute to more beneficial trade agreements for all trade
partners and accelerate poverty elimination and economic growth in developing countries.
In recent years, total U.S. support for trade capacity building in Latin America and the
Caribbean has nearly tripled to $150 million in 2003 from $52 million in
The previous ministerial was held in Quito, the capital of the
previous chair, Ecuador. The next ministerial will be held in Brazil.
There are nine negotiating groups in the FTAA process, each
drafting a separate chapter of the agreement. These groups are: market access; investment;
services; government procurement; dispute settlement; agriculture; intellectual
property rights; subsidies, dumping, and countervailing duties; and, competition policy.
The 34 FTAA countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina,
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti,
Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United
States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.