Atlanta will be the site for the next round of Andean-U.S. free trade negotiations in June, announced Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier during the Business of the Americas Conference here last week.
Representatives of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, three of the Andean countries, will meet with U.S. trade representatives in Atlanta, to continue the bilateral free trade talks begun on May 18 in Cartagena, Colombia. Talks are scheduled to conclude in February 2005.
The agreement would make permanent temporary duty-free concessions that the three Andean countries received last year from the United States. The concessions, aimed at fostering legitimate businesses as opposed to narcotics trafficking, would otherwise expire in 2006.
Atlanta’s hosting of bilateral free trade negotiations, such as the Chile-U.S. free trade negotiations last October, and conferences like the Business of the Americas are stepping stones that encourage successful FTAA negotiations, Mr. Allgeier said during the conference held at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Mr. Allgeier is a co-chair, along with Brazil’s minister of foreign affairs Adhemar Bahadian, for the FTAA negotiations taking place from now until a final free trade agreement is reached by the 34 participating Western Hemisphere countries.
“This conference has offered me the opportunity to meet with Ambassador Bahadian to discuss plans for further FTAA negotiations, and we are meeting with our [FTAA Trade Negotiations Committee] teams tomorrow in Washington to try to bridge the differences that remain among the countries so that we can move forward,” he said.
The co-chairs have been consulting with individual countries in the negotiations committee since February to try to develop a common set of rules for FTAA negotiating. Once the rules are agreed upon, formal FTAA negotiations will resume in Brazil later this year.
Contact Susan Bruce at Hemisphere Inc. for more information at (404) 885-8539 or visit www.atlantagateway.org.