The trade ministers and trade negotiators of the Andean Community countries will meet in Atlanta Friday, Oct. 1, to discuss the projected impact of a Free Trade Area of the Americas on the Andean region as well as the feasibility of entering into bilateral trade negotiations with the United States.

            The trade ministers of Canada, Chile and Mexico are also slated to attend.

            The talks, to be held at the Carter Center, mark the first time the group has met in a country that is not a part of the Andean region.

            For their part, Atlanta officials are using the visit as an opportunity to market the city as the location of a permanent FTAA secretariat.  The city is competing with, among others, Miami and Panama City for the headquarters seat.

            Rose Raus, spokesperson for Atlanta, Georgia: Gateway to the Americas, the public-private partnership leading the city’s FTAA promotion efforts, said the organization had arranged for the discussions to be held at the Carter Center.

During the event, the Atlanta group is to host a luncheon and dinner for the visiting trade ministers and city officials and businesspersons.  A representative from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is to deliver the luncheon keynote speech.

            A tour of Atlanta is also planned before the delegates’ departure, Saturday, Oct. 18.

            Participating Andean countries include Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.  Additional delegates slated to visit are the assistants to the presidents of Bolivia and Mexico, the ambassador to the Organization for American States for Trinidad & Tobago and the five ambassadors to the U.S. from the Andean Community nations.

            Building on momentum from the meeting in Atlanta, Gateway to the Americas representatives are to visit with government and business leaders in Bolivia before the upcoming FTAA ministerial meeting in Miami in early November, said Ms. Raus.  No other official travel is planned for the Atlanta group prior to the Miami ministerial at this time, she added.

            For additional information, contact Ms. Raus at (404) 898-1266.