ToolsTerms of Agreement and blocks

The General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) is the first multilateral, legally binding set of rules covering international service provision. GATS was created in January 1995, as an integral part of the WTO. GATS is operated by the Council for the Trade of Services, comprising representatives of all WTO countries.

The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) was later supplanted as an international organization by the World Trade Organization. An updated version of the General Agreement is now a WTO accord. See “World Trade Organization”.

The North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a wide-ranging free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States, signed on January 1, 1994. Its objectives include: eliminating barriers to internal trade and facilitating the transport of goods and services beyond frontiers; promoting fair competition; increasing investment opportunities; providing sufficient and effective protection for intellectual property rights; creating effective procedures to implement an expensive agreement, for its joint administration and the resolution of disputes; and to establish a base for further trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation.

The heads of state and governments of 34 democracies agreed to create the Free-Trade Area of the Americas (Alcan) during the Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in 1994, which includes the progressive elimination of barriers to trade and investment. The Agreement’s negotiations were concluded in 2005.

The Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) was established by the Montevideo treaty, in August 1980, but was implemented in March of 1981. ALADI seeks to improve economic cooperation between its members, which includes creating regional trade agreements and industrial agreements. Members include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. ALADI substitutes the Latin American Association for Free Trade, established in 1960 in order to develop a Latin American common market. http://

Criado em 1959, o Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento (BID) apóia o desenvolvimento econômico e social e a integração regional na América Latina e no Caribe. Ele faz isso principalmente por meio de emprestar a instituições públicas, mas também financia projetos privados, geralmente em infra-estrutura e desenvolvimento de mercados de capital. Os membros incluem: Alemanha, Argentina, áustria, Bahamas, Barbados, Bélgica, Belize, Bolívia, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, Colômbia, Costa Rica, Croácia, Dinamarca, El Salvador, Equador, Eslovênia, Espanha, Estados Unidos, Finlândia, França, Guatemala, Guiana, Haiti, Holanda, Honduras, Israel, Itália, Jamaica, Japão, México, Nicarágua, Noruega, Panamá, Paraguai, Peru, Portugal, Reino Unido, República Dominicana, Suécia, Suíça, Suriname, Trinidad e Tobago, Uruguai e Venezuela.

Development and improvement of the basic qualifications and abilities of countries within the trade area using technical cooperation and other methods of support in order to optimize their participation in negotiations, implement their commitment to trade and face challenges in order to maximize the benefits of hemisphere integration. See “Hemisphere Cooperation Program”.

Created in December 1966, United Nations Commission for International Trade Rights (UNCITRAL) aims to promote progressive harmonization and unification of international trading rights. Members (36) include: Germany, the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia, Argentina (alternating annually with Uruguay) Austria, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Singapore, Colombia, Spain, the United States, the Russian Federation, VG, France, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Morocco, Mexico, Paraguay, Kenya, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Sudan, Sweden, Thailand and Uganda.

CEPAL is one of the five regional United Nations commissions. It was created to contribute towards economic development in Latin America, coordinating actions aiming towards this goal and strengthening economic relations between countries and other nations worldwide. Its main objectives include the promotion of social development in the region, an aim that was added at a later date. Members (41) include: Antigua and Barbados, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Spain, United States, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Holland, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente and Granada, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Porto Rico and Montserrat, http://

As part of the ALCA process, the CNC supervises and manages ALCA negotiating processes at a vice ministerial level. The CNC is responsible for guiding negotiating procedures and the special ALCA committees as well as deciding on the general structure of the agreement as well as institutional issues.

The Tripartite Committee includes the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), the Organization of American States (OAS) And the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL). It provides analytical, technical and financial support to ALCA processes and maintains the official ALCA webpage. Each of the institutions on the tripartite committee also answer requests for technical assistance related to ALCA issues, especially those from smaller economies in the hemisphere.

Previously known as the Andean Group (created in 1969) and the Andean Common Market, the Andean Community (CAN) is a sub-regional organization comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela and the entities and institutions making up the Andean Integration System The key objectives of the Andean Community are: promoting balanced and harmonious development of member countries on an equitable basis; stimulating growth by integrating and supporting economic and social cooperation; improving participation in the regional integration process looking towards progressive formation of a common Latin American market; fighting for a gradual improvement in the standard of living of regional inhabitants.

CARICOM, a group of 15 member countries, was created by the Chaguarama Treaty in 1973 to promote economic integration via the free circulation of goods and operational cooperation in education and health. The Treaty was reviewed in 2001 to turn the common market into an economic union, the Caribbean Common Economy and Market (CSME) which includes the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, coordination of macroeconomic policies and harmonization of laws and institutions. The 15 member countries: Antigua and Barbados, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Santa Lucia, Saint Vicent and Granada, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bahamas are a member of the community but not the common market. There are three associate members: Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands. http://www.

Created in December 1964, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD) aims to increase integration among developing countries in the global economy. UNCTAD is the central point at the United Nations to deal with trade and development integration and related issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment in sustainable development. The members (191) include all of the members of United Nations, plus the Holy See.

Created in November 1989, APEC is the first foreign to facilitate economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Pacific basin. APEC members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Summit of the Americas process, which began after the first Summit of the Americas, held in December 1994, brings together the Heads of State and Government from the Western Hemisphere to discuss common preparation, seek solutions and create a shared vision of future social, political or economic development in the region.

As part of the ALCA Hemisphere Cooperation Program, some countries have developed national or regional strategies to define, prioritize and articulate the requirements in terms of strenghtening their ability to: prepare for negotiations; program commercial commitments and adapt to integration. In order to facilitate coordination and share experiences, the strategies share a common format developed by the Group for Consultation on Smaller Economies, with assistance from the Tripartite Committee.

Parallel events held by a variety of civil organizations in relation to the ministers responsible for trade in the hemisphere taking part in the negotiations at the Americas Free-Trade Area (ALCA).

An event held by the private sector parallel to the meeting of the ministers responsible for trade in the hemisphere taking part in the negotiations at the Americas Free-Trade Area (ALCA).

GRIC was created in March 1995 in order to coordinate and implement mandates from the Miami Action Plan. GRIC is comprised of 34 democratically elected governments in the hemisphere, represented by their appointed national coordinators. GRIC is responsible for all reporting annually on the progress implementing the Foreign Minister's Action Plan. The Ministers review the information during the regular session at the OAS General Assembly. Within the context of ALCA, there is a set of measures approved by the Ministers Responsible for Trade at the Ministerial Meeting in Toronto, on November 4, 1999. They include eight measures related to customs and 10 measures on transparency, including, respectively, Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the Ministerial Declaration of Toronto. http://www.

The Central American Common Market was created on December 13, 1960, when Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua signed the General Treaty for Central American Economic Integration. Costa Rica joined the group on July 23, 1962. In October 1993, the five MCCA countries signed the Guatemala Protocol, amending the General Treaty signed in 1960. The Protocol redefines the aims, principles and stages of economic integration and calls on member states to establish a unified customs structure. More specifically, the Guatemala protocol invites member countries to create the MCCA free-trade area by gradually eliminating tariffs and commercial barriers, granting national treatments to intraregional trade and adopting a regional legal framework which covers the rules of origin, safeguards, unfair commercial practices, intellectual property, services, sanitary and phytosanitary measures as well as technical criteria and rules.

MERCOSUL was created by the Asuncion Treaty on March 26, 1991. Between 1991 and 1995, its members, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, were involved in a series of negotiations to establish a common external tariff, which was finalized on January 1, 1995. The final deadline for implementing full customs integration by all members in all sectors is 2006. The new launch of the MERCOSUL integration process in 2000 required narrower macroeconomic coordination and other priority issues such as strengthening of institutions, a common external tariff, dispute resolution, trade remedies and competition policy as well as investment incentives. Chile and Bolivia became associate members in 1996 and 1997, respectively.

The OECD is a group of 30 member countries in a single Forum to discuss, develop and refine economic and social policies. It was created in December 1960 and has been in operation since September 1961. Its 30 members include Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, South Korea, Denmark, Slovakia, Spain, the United States, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

On April 30, 1948, the Charter of the Organization of American States was adopted by 21 nations throughout the hemisphere. The Charter sets out their commitment to common goals and respect for each nation’s sovereignty. Since it has been implemented, the OAS has expanded to include the nations of the Caribbean and Canada. Based on the Summit of the Americas process, heads of state and government from the hemisphere have given the OAS a variety of important responsibilities and mandates, including human rights, participation in society, improved cooperation to deal with illegal drug trafficking, supporting the process to create the Americas Free-Trade Area, education, justice and security. Members (35) include: Antigua and Barbados, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba (excluded from formal participation since 1962), Dominica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vicente e Granada, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Created in 1952 as the Customs Cooperation Council, the Council adopted the working name of the world Customs Organization (WCO) in 1994, to more clearly reflect its transition towards an intergovernmental institution on a truly worldwide basis. The WCO is an intergovernmental organization which act on independent basis and whose mission is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administration worldwide. With 159 member countries, it is the only global intergovernmental agency authorized to deal with Customs issues.

Created in 1967, WIPO is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of literary, artistic and scientific works. WIPO is one of the 16 specialized agencies within the United Nations system. It manages 23 international treaties which deal with various aspects of intellectual property protection. The organization has 179 member countries.

The WTO succeeded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) on January 1, 1995. It is the only multilateral organization which is used as a Forum for negotiations to liberalize trade, and it supervises the deployment of multilaterally accepted and binding commercial rules and is also used as a Forum to resolve trade disputes. The WTO’s objective is to promote the liberalization and expansion of international trade in goods and services under specific and foreseeable conditions. The organization has 146 member countries.

The official website fro the Americas Freed Trade Area.

The Hemisphere Cooperation Program (PCH) is intended to strength members’ capabilities to seek assistance to take part in ALCA negotiations, implement commercial commitments and maximize the benefits of hemisphere integration, including production capacity and competition throughout the region. The Program includes a mechanism to help these countries to draw up national and/or regional strategies to improve their capabilities involving trade issues, prioritizing and articulating their requirements and programs to pursue these strategies as well as identify sources of financial and non-financial support to meet these requirements. The PCH has been endorsed by the ALCA Ministers Responsible for Trade during the meeting held in Quito in November 2002. http://www.

Tariff elimination timetable for parties to a trade agreement.

Periodic meeting of the Minister's Responsible for Trade from the 34 countries participating in the Americas Free-Trade Area.

Beginning in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay, the eighth round of multilateral trade negotiations covered a wide ranging agenda that included a variety of trade policy issues. The resulting agreement, concluded in December 1993 and signed in April 1994, expanded the multilateral trade system into various new areas, especially the trade of services and intellectual property rights, and including the important agriculture and textile industries under multilateral trade rules. The result of the Uruguay round was the creation of the World Trade Organization in January 1995.

A principle that provides countries with different levels of development and size the possibility of obtaining differential treatment within the context of ALCA negotiations. The Principles for this treatment are detailed in the document published by the Trade Negotiations Committee under the title "Principles or Directives for the Treatment of Differences in Levels of Development and the Size of Economies”.

The European Union (EU) is a group of 15 member states based on a series of common institutions where decisions on specific areas of interest are taken at a European level. It was founded as the European Community after the Second World War to improve political, economic and social co-operation between its members. The single market, adopted in 1992 by the Treaty of Nations in 12 European Union countries, along with the European Central bank, was born on January 1, 2002. Maastricht is the center of the current European Union. The European Union comprises freedom of movement for goods, services, persons and capital and is based on a variety of supporting policies. A common currency, the euro, has substituted former currencies. The 15 member states are Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, the UK and Sweden. Ten new countries were invited to join the EU on May 1, 2004: Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and the Czech Republic.