21 de Julio de 2018
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Colección: Trends for a common future
Autor: Sidney Weintraub
Título: Technical Cooperation Needs for Hemispheric trade Negotiations
VII. Final Comment

Hemispheric leaders deserve considerable kudos for seeking ways to equip all LAC countries involved to participate effectively in the FTAA negotiations. This is a far cry from earlier multilateral trade negotiations when the interests of countries with small economies were given short shrift.

The major thrust of this paper is that technical training and cooperation for a venture as ambitious as the FTAA must go well beyond the specific negotiating areas, as important as these are, and take into account how the trade negotiation outcomes will affect national development efforts. TC, therefore, starts at this national level and is best when the providers include experts from development institutions as well as from trade institutions. There are many TC needs that transcend specific negotiating groups, what here have been called cross-cutting trade issues, and these tend to be the ones most in demand. They include help to devise information systems and to learn techniques to analyze the consequences of the trade bargains. The argument in this paper is that there is a seamless web of needs for the smaller economies that starts at the national program level, includes the cross-cutting negotiating requirements, and then absorbs the explicit negotiating groups.

The stress has been on the smaller economies because that is where the TC needs are greatest and it was from the working group on the smaller economies that the request for assistance came. However, many countries with larger economies also need assistance in many technical areas, e.g., how to use pesticides in agricultural production without running into sanitary problems later, or how to construct anti-monopoly institutions, or how to deal with the interplay between financial and trade liberalization. Such assistance, when requested, should also be forthcoming.

The FTAA is an ambitious exercise whose ultimate success is uncertain. Enabling full engagement by all participants, regardless of the size of the economy or past experience in trade negotiations, is a worthy endeavor.