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TPD > FTAA > United States Negotiating Positions - Summary > Position

Summary of the United States Negotiating Positions in the FTAA 



Public Summary of U. S. Position 

The United States believes that economic growth, including through trade and investment liberalization, must be pursued consistent with the objective of sustainable development. More particularly, in the negotiation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the U.S. Government seeks mutually supportive economic and environmental policies, as was agreed at the 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas. The FTAA should expand trade and promote economic and social development while reflecting a strong commitment to achieving high levels of environmental protection; it should support, and not undermine, a country's ability to maintain and enforce its environmental laws, while ensuring against trade protectionist abuse. As we move into the next stage of the FTAA negotiations, the United States believes it is important for the FTAA Trade Ministers to discuss the intersection of trade liberalization and environmental protection, and to provide direction on the issue. 

To promote the view of the United States that strong and effective protection of the environment can be fully consistent with international trade liberalization in the FTAA, U.S. negotiators are working within the framework of the nine established FTAA negotiating groups (Agriculture, Market Access, Investment, Government Procurement, Services, Dispute Settlement, Intellectual Property, Competition Policy, and Subsidies, Anti-dumping, and Countervailing Duties) and within the Trade Negotiations Committee to identify and incorporate relevant environmental considerations into the FTAA agreement. In the Investment chapter, for example, the United States seeks a provision similar to that found in the NAFTA, obligating FTAA countries to strive to ensure that environmental laws are not relaxed to attract an investment. 

The United States will also seek to ensure that countries can continue to set the levels of environmental protection they deem appropriate, even when such levels of protection are higher than those provided by international standards, and will look for opportunities to promote high levels of environmental protection and effective enforcement of laws at the national level. Moreover, the U.S. Government includes environmental, health, and safety officials in trade policy development and on the U.S. trade negotiation teams for the FTAA, and we encourage our trading partners to do likewise. 

It is the U.S. view that, as with the NAFTA, environmental issues present opportunities as well as challenges in the FTAA negotiations. For example, the United States seeks to identify and pursue "win-win" opportunities in the FTAA to eliminate or reduce environmentally harmful subsidies, tariffs, and other barriers to trade. The United States is working with other countries and interested parties to identify other possible areas where trade liberalization can directly contribute to both economic growth and environmental protection.

In determining how best to pursue trade and environment objectives in the FTAA, the United States will look carefully at existing agreements and continue to consult closely with interested stakeholders. As the United States Government continues to discuss how best to take environmental considerations into account in the FTAA, we will draw upon our consultations with Congress, established domestic advisory processes such as the FTAA Working Group of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC), and public comments submitted in response to Federal Register notices, during public briefings, or through other means. The United States will also continue to support the unique and innovative FTAA Civil Society Committee to expand opportunities for expressions of views to the FTAA Ministers by members of civil society throughout the Hemisphere and will carefully consider civil society's submissions to that Committee on the full range of issues, including environmental concerns. 

Another important means by which the United States is taking into account the environmental implications of the FTAA negotiations, both positive and negative, is through an environmental review, as directed by Executive Order 13141. USTR recently initiated a written environmental review of the FTAA and is in the process of obtaining public comment on the scope of that review. See 65 Fed. Reg. 75,763 (Dec. 4, 2000). A proposed quantitative methodology for analyzing the potential environmental effects of tariff elimination, which is one component of the FTAA environmental review, is available at www.ustr.gov/environment/environmental.shpm1.


Source: United States Trade Representative