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Chamber Welcomes Advances in Miami FTAA Talks

Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 7:00pm

"Strategy of Competitive Liberalization is Working"

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Chamber of Commerce welcomed progress on a number of fronts during the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial in Miami. The U.S. Chamber played a leadership role in the Miami FTAA meetings, helping coordinate the U.S. delegation of more than 500 business leaders and working with Ambassador Zoellick and his team to press for a high-standard FTAA agreement.

"We have a great deal of work ahead as we move toward an ambitious, high-standard, commercially meaningful agreement," said Larry Liebenow, Chairman of the U.S. Chamber's Executive Committee. "But the FTAA train is pulling out of Miami station with a stronger head of steam than anticipated." Liebenow observed progress in several areas:

STRATEGY: "Ambassador Zoellick's strategy of competitive liberalization is working. Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean are under tremendous pressure to make ambitious commitments in the FTAA talks or risk being left on the sidelines."

COMPREHENSIVENESS: "The ministers endorsed a comprehensive FTAA. Just a few weeks ago, some governments were seeking to exclude such areas as services, intellectual property, investment, and government procurement from the negotiations. Today, all nine negotiating areas are back in play."

COMMITMENT: "Despite differences over some key issues, the ministers demonstrated tremendous commitment to making the FTAA a reality. For example, the government of Brazil, which only two weeks ago had been seeking to scale back the agreement's scope, found a way to work with the U.S. in support of a comprehensive FTAA."

"The business community's challenge now is to ensure that the final agreement meets our ambitious goals in terms of market access as well as robust rules and disciplines," said Liebenow. "The Miami Ministerial didn't set a floor — or a ceiling — for the agreement's level of ambition, which will be the appropriate focus for the negotiators over the coming year.

Business will have a key role to play in keeping up pressure for an ambitious deal."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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