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Regional and Bilateral Initiatives

Canada-chile Free Trade Agreement

FOURTH MEETING OF THE CANADA-CHILE FREE TRADE COMMISSION: JOINT STATEMENT OF MINISTERS

QUITO, ECUADOR
October 31, 2002

Following the meeting of the Free Trade Commission on October 31, 2002 the Minister of Foreign Relations of Chile, María Soledad Alvear, and the Minister for International Trade for Canada, Pierre S. Pettigrew, are pleased to present this joint statement summarizing the results of the meeting.

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE MINISTERS

  1. We have recently passed the fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) – an appropriate opportunity for assessing our achievements to date and reviewing the state of the implementation of the Agreement. We recognized the importance of the CCFTA for both countries, particularly how it has enhanced our bilateral trade and economic relations.

  2. We noted that the CCFTA has been a valuable tool to weather difficult economic times. We were pleased to observe that, notwithstanding the global economic downturn in 2001, the state of our bilateral trade relations is positive. Two-way trade between Canada and Chile totalled $US839 million in 2001 (using each country’s import statistics as a base), 26% higher than in 1997, when the Agreement came into force. In 2001, Canadian direct investment in Chile reached $US 6.43 billion, or 13.5% of the total direct foreign investment received by Chile since 1974.

  3. We reaffirmed our commitment to fully implement the CCFTA and underscored the desire of both governments to deepen the dialogue and continue working toward a common understanding on trade issues of interest to both, not only through the CCFTA but also in other regional and multilateral fora.

  4. We agreed on notes of interpretations of certain provisions of the Investment Chapter ofthe CCFTA. Through these notes, the two parties to the CCFTA commit to make the investor-state dispute settlement process as open and transparent as possible. We also clarified the interpretation of the provision governing the minimum standard of treatment to be accorded to foreign investors. We view these notes as contributing to the efficient and transparent operation of the Chapter G dispute settlement process and to the proper and responsible participation of the eventual disputing parties in such proceedings.

  5. We shared the view that the Canada – Chile Agreement on Labour Cooperation (CCALC) and the Canada - Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (CCAEC) have been instrumental in strengthening of our bilateral relationship in these areas. We welcomed the close cooperation that has developed from ongoing activities under these agreements.

  6. Regarding the Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, we were pleased to note that the Trade and Environment Round Table, provides a forum for public participation, in addition to being a regular venue for policy dialogue and exchange between officials. We noted as well that Chile is undergoing a three-stage process to strengthen and reform its environmental legislation.  This process to systematize, avoid norms' duplication and give better coherence to environmental legislation is being executed by Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago and is supervised by the Chilean National Commission for the Environment (CONAMA).

  7. Regarding the Labour Cooperation Agreement, we noted the many cooperative activities that have been carried out in the two countries on topics such as employment standards and occupational health and safety, industrial relations, labour legislation and income security policies and programmes. A recent review of the implementation of the CCALC shows that cooperative activities since 1997 have helped government officials, labour experts, unions and business representatives to identify fields of common interest, exchange information and build networks between our two countries.  We look forward to the broadening of the cooperation program that will result from such a review.

  8. We reviewed the progress achieved in implementing specific provisions of the CCFTA and have agreed upon a number of actions related to the administration and implementation of this Agreement and in the preparation of future work. These actions are summarized in the Annex to this statement.

  9. We took note of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2001, by the Chilean College of Engineers and the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, in the spirit of Chapter H of the CCFTA. We share the view that these kind of understandings contribute significantly to achieving the benefits of free trade in professional services and encouraged other organizations of professionals to work towards similar agreements in other areas of professional services.

  10. We noted with particular pleasure our common goals regarding trade liberalization, especially at the hemispheric level and reaffirmed our commitment to work together in the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which are to be concluded by January 2005.

  11. We noted as well the progress made in the FTAA in increasing the transparency of trade negotiations and in facilitating the fuller participation of  interested citizens in our trade liberalization efforts through the strengthening of the mandate of the FTAA Civil Society Committee.

  12. Finally, we agreed that Chile will host the next regular meeting of the Commission in 2003.

ANNEX TO THE JOINT STATEMENT OF MINISTERS IMPLEMENTATION ACTIONS

In accordance with the mandate to supervise the implementation and further elaboration of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement, pursuant to Article N-01 of the Agreement, at the 4th meeting of the Free Trade Commission:

  • We agreed on the terms of reference for the bilateral Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and instructed officials to start working and to report their progress to us at the next meeting of the Commission. This Committee will provide a regular forum for consultations and technical cooperation, including discussions on bilateral issues with a view to avoiding disputes.
  • Following from the preliminary discussions this past year, we instructed officials to continue exploratory analysis, on the margins of the FTAA, of the potential benefits of addressing issues relating to government procurement in the CCFTA and to report back to the Commission with concrete alternatives.
  • Took note of the elimination of tariffs under Chile’s tariff schedule on the following originating products of Canada: potatoes (HS 2004.10), dried peas and beans (HS 0713), and pet food (HS 2309.10).
  • We instructed our officials to continue their discussions to review the effectiveness of the Annex on Professional Services and possible ways to further improve trade in this area between our two countries.
  •  Took note that, in the context of the Customs Subcommittee of the CCFTA, officials from our two countries have exchanged views regarding the proper tariff classification for certain high-technology goods. Chile submitted a formal request for an opinion on the classification of certain specific goods from Canada’s customs authorities.
  • Instructed officials to intensify efforts to complete the roster of panellists for dispute settlement purposes pursuant to Article N-09 of the Agreement. Chile presented a roster with their appointees.