NAFTA FREE TRADE COMMISSION JOINT STATEMENT
"A Foundation for Future Growth"
May 28, 2002
Following the May 28 meeting of the NAFTA Free Trade Commission, Mexican
Secretary of Economy Luis Ernesto Derbez, United States Trade Representative
Robert B. Zoellick, and Canadian Minister for International Trade Pierre S.
Pettigrew are pleased to release the following Joint Statement which
outlines the overall results.
As we look back over the eight years since NAFTA entered into force, we are
pleased with its unconditional success. The Agreement has brought economic
growth and rising standards of living for people in all three countries. In
addition, NAFTA has established a strong foundation for future growth and
has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization.
Since 1994,our trilateral trade has more than doubled, now surpassing US$622
billion, more than US$1.7 billion is traded every day through our borders.
Investment in our three countries has also grown significantly, making North
America one of the most competitive, prosperous and economically integrated
regions in the world. As we approach January 1, 2003, when nearly all
tariffs between our three countries will be eliminated, we are pleased to
note that the ultimate goal of the NAFTA of lowering costs for producers and
lower prices for consumers is being achieved.
In looking at the future, we reaffirmed our determination to complete the
full implementation of the Agreement according to the established schedule
and directed officials to review the prospects of additional trilateral work
that could stimulate further the trade between our three countries to allow
the realization of the full potential of a more integrated and efficient
North American economy.
We reviewed the operation of Chapter 11 of the NAFTA and directed experts to
continue their work examining the implementation and operation of Chapter
11, including developing recommendation as appropriate. To better undertake
this task, we directed our experts to identify shared priorities concerning
the operation of Chapter 11 and to report to the Free Trade Commission
actions as appropriate. The experts are to report to Ministers on a regular
basis and, at a minimum, prior to the next meeting of the NAFTA Deputies in
the Fall of 2002. We view this work as a necessary and highly beneficial to
the effective and proper implementation of the Chapter as well as to
increase public understanding of the operation of the Chapter.
We reaffirmed our strong support for further regional and multilateral trade
liberalization, and especially the cooperation among, and leadership shown
by, the NAFTA partners. These efforts should serve as a model for
cooperating amongst ourselves in other regional and global fora, such as the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In APEC we are cooperating to implement the elements of 2001 APEC Leaders
Declaration, in particular those contained in the Shanghai Accord on
transparency, trade facilitation and the new economy, as well as those
relating to WTO capacity building and biotechnology.
We are committed to achieve significant progress in the WTO negotiations by
the 5th Ministerial to be held in Cancun in September 2003, and to complete
the negotiations by January 2005. We are pleased that in the Free Trade Area
of the Americas we have been able to initiate market access negotiations.
This should enable us to keep on track to conclude the FTAA negotiations no
later than January 2005. Our negotiators continue to make progress on
consolidating the text and we look forward to reviewing the new texts at the
FTAA Ministerial in November. We will work with the smaller economies so
that all countries can meet the agreed negotiating deadlines.
We reached agreement on a trilateral communications workplan to inform the
public of the success of the agreement, to disseminate information, and to
promote transparency for better understanding of the agreement. We have
published a trilateral brochure on NAFTA's 8th year, which can be found at
our ministries web sites.
Finally, we agreed that Canada will host the next NAFTA Commission Meeting
at the Ministerial level next year.
Source: International Trade