Being named the site for the secretariat of the Free Trade Areas of the Americas could be one of the economic benefits Atlanta reaps from a new economic integration agreement between South America’s Mercosur and Andean trading blocks, Argentina’s Consul General Pompeyo Carlos Layus, told GlobalAtlanta last week.

According to Mr. Layus, the new agreement signed last week, along with advances made by the North American Free Trade Agreement, will help to accelerate the formation of the FTAA.

And, Mr. Layus said in an email, “I have no doubt the secretariat will be established in Atlanta.”

Atlanta, Miami, Panama City, Panama and Port of Spain, Trinidad, are considered the leading contenders for the FTAA secretariat.

The agreement signed by nine countries on Oct. 19 in Montevideo, Uruguay, includes the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and Andean nations of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The South American region will now be in a better position to negotiate with North America on the FTAA, said Mr. Layus.

“I truly believe that this step is a great advantage towards economic and commercial integration for South American countries,” he said.

The process toward economic integration in South America began in 1998 when Andean and Mercosur countries signed an agreement to create a free trade area, which has a population of 350 million people.

For more information, contact Mr. Layus at (404) 880-0805 or by email at