For non-reciprocal preferential trade agreements such as the United States and Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, members must request a waiver of WTO rules. These waivers require the approval of three-quarters of WTO members. The 2003 Miami Declaration also mandated Deputy Ministers of Trade to define common commitments. However, the United States and Brazil could not agree on areas that would be mandatory for all participants, and the FTAA negotiations were suspended. Brazil`s position called for all industrial and agricultural products to be included in market access regulations and urged the abolition of export subsidies and domestic price support measures for agricultural products. The United States has agreed to abolish export subsidies, but not domestic support for agriculture. The United States wants these provisions to be discussed in the WTO negotiations. Your company benefits from transparency and tailor-made services before and during the conference. The webinar series, conference, and trade mission are highly promoted throughout the international business community of the United States and the South American region. Your organization will be recognized according to the level of participation you have chosen: in 2004, CARICOM made progress in its integration process, including the implementation of the CSME, foreign policy coordination and functional cooperation. CARICOM has made progress in removing restrictions on the provision of services and the movement of capital and skilled workers. In the area of functional cooperation, Member States have cooperated in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in natural disaster management plans. (56) In mid-April 2005, CARICOM members established the Caribbean Court of Justice, based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, which will be the last Court of Appeal in the region, to replace the London-based Privy Council.
The Court will play an important role in the economic integration of the region by ruling on trade disputes in the upcoming CARICOM CSME. Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad are leading the way in the implementation of the CSME, and other Caribbean States are expected to comply by the end of 2005. (57) Customs unions are agreements in which members trade freely with each other and maintain a common commercial policy towards non-members. These agreements require the introduction of a common external tariff and the harmonisation of external trade policies. Such agreements represent a greater loss of autonomy from the parties` trade policies and require longer and more complex periods of negotiation and implementation. Geographical considerations play an important role in defining the objective of economic and sometimes political integration between Member States. (4) The Southern Common Market (Mercosur) in South America is an example of a customs union. NAFTA has set a precedent for other U.S. trade agreements.
The United States has advanced its trade agenda in the Western Hemisphere through bilateral trade initiatives with Chile, Central America and the Dominican Republic, Panama and some Andean countries (see Table 3). The United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement was signed in June 2003 and entered into force in January 2004. THE DCFTA-DR was incorporated into U.S. law on August 2, 2005 and is expected to come into effect in January 2006. In May 2004, the United States began negotiations with Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia on the United States-Andes Free Trade Agreement. These negotiations will continue and are expected to be completed by the end of 2005. In April 2004, the United States began negotiations with Panama on the United States-Panama Free Trade Agreement, and these negotiations have not yet been concluded. The group of twelve South American countries would eventually become the fifth largest trading bloc in the world, according to Didier Opertti, secretary-general of the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA).
Tariffs must be phased out and through bilateral meetings between countries, without the need to ratify them by Parliament in most cases. (59) The political leaders of South America regard this agreement as an important step towards economic integration in South America and the possible creation of a South American Union. The agreement covers all South American countries, with the exception of the small economies of Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. The two trading blocs have a combined GDP of $800 billion. Total trade between countries amounts to about US$30 billion per year. The 1994 vision of hemispheric free trade was taken up by President George W. Bush and promoted through formal negotiations in the FTAA process, but also through the expansion of bilateral free trade agreements. An FTAA could have 34 members and nearly 800 million people. This population would be almost twice as high as the population of the European Union. FTAA trade negotiations began in April 1998 and, after seven years, the initial deadline for concluding the agreement expired and negotiators failed to reach an agreement, mainly due to differences over agriculture.
The United States is Chile`s largest trading partner in a single country, accounting for 20% of Chilean exports and 15% of imports. In contrast, Chile ranks 29th among U.S. TRADING PARTNERS in terms of total trade. When the agreement entered into force in January 2004, 87% of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products became immediately duty-free, with the remaining duties to be reduced over time. Within four years of the deal, about 75 percent of U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach Chile duty-free. The agreement also improved U.S. market access in a wide range of services. For Chile, 95 per cent of its export products received immediate duty-free status and only 1.2 per cent of its products fell into the longest 12-year phase-out period.
In addition to market access provisions, the agreement includes environmental and labor regulations, more open rules for government procurement, better access to trade in services, better protection of U.S. investments and intellectual property, and the creation of a new chapter on e-commerce. Mercosur countries have gradually removed trade barriers and established a free trade area since 1991, but remain barriers in some sectors. In 1994, the Treaty of Asuncion was amended and updated by the Treaty of Ouro Preto. The 1994 Treaty helped to improve the institutional structure of Mercosur and launched a new phase in the member States` trade relations in order to promote their objective of achieving a common market. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela have associate membership in Mercosur. Associate members do not participate in Mercosur`s main trade negotiations and may choose not to abide by its trade rules. .