backers seek more funds for closing session
less than a year left before the temporary Secretariat for the Free
Trade Area of the Americas departs Miami, community leaders are seeking
an additional $500,000 to ensure a positive impression.
Summers, executive director of Team Florida FTAA, a private-sector
group created to coordinate community support for trade talks, said
revised estimates show Miami will spend $3.5 million to meet negotiators'
needs through March 2001.
leaders say a positive impression of Miami could improve the city's
chances of winning the permanent Secretariat. Delegates are expected
to discuss the location of an administrative headquarters later in
the talks, which are expected to end in 2005.
the state had originally estimated $3 million over two years to support
negotiators from 34 countries hammering out a free trade agreement
for the Western Hemisphere, extended sessions planned this fall will
require additional staff, translators and other costs as Miami wraps
up its term as host.
of the things that Team Florida FTAA is focusing extensively on is
ensuring that the Miami term ends on a high note," Ms. Summers
said, "with absolute compliance with all of the promises made
by Miami to secure the Secretariat.
fact, we are endeavoring to exceed substantially every one of the
promises made by governor Lawton Chiles and Mayor Alex Penelas to
obtain the Secretariat."
county, state and private sector will be called on to fill the $500,000
budget gap, she said.
are quite pleased with the progress and the success of the negotiations.
We just have to fill the funding gap," Ms. Summers said.
a recent meeting in Guatemala negotiators agreed to an expanded schedule
of negotiations in Miami this fall to ensure that a bracketed text
document can be delivered at the next Summit of the Americas, planned
for April 2001.
presence of new presidents from the US, Mexico and other major countries
will lend significance to next year's summit, Ms. Summers said.
think they're definitely making progress," said Jerry Haar, a
senior research associate with the University of Miami North-South
business facilitation measures already have resulted from trade talks,
Free Trade Area of the Americas has reached a point where, in terms
of policy, it's really in many ways doing a holding pattern until
a new president of the US goes early with a request for fast-track
authority. That will really move things quite a bit," Mr. Haar
far as the traders are concerned, the real important thing is being
done," he said, referring to changes in customs procedures now
being implemented in Latin American countries to smooth the flow of
Haar said he believes Miami has a good chance of winning the permanent
Miami has going for it is it's everybody's second choice. All the
nations Panama, Mexico and everybody are going to be
seeking the permanent Secretariat."
of State Katherine Harris, Hank Adorno "and others are working
day and night on this with the kind of vigilance and tenacity that
is unparalleled," Mr. Haar said. "I hope that we are successful.
By any measure we are the natural place to have this.
good thing is if we snag this, hopefully we'll be able to land other
Secretariats and other kinds of coordinating bodies so we can become
the Brussels or Geneva in the tropics," Mr. Haar said.
Simon, under secretary for international affairs under Secretary of
State Katherine Harris, said Ms. Harris won important victories in
getting the US House of Representatives and Senate to endorse Miami's
quest to gain the permanent Secretariat.
he said, Ms. Harris is working with members of the government's executive
branch as the government expresses the official US view that the permanent
Secretariat should be in Miami, Mr. Simon said.
US government will be sharing its position with other members of the
FTAA," Mr. Simon said. "That's something that also representatives
in Florida make known appropriately when they have foreign contacts
in the foreign hemisphere."
agree that election of a new US president will add new impetus to
the trade talks. Both presidential candidates publicly support the
Free Trade Area of the Americas process.
Sanchez, who served on a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce committee
dedicate to fast-track authority for the trade talks, said Congress
in the past year was preoccupied with China's favored nation trading
status and the World Trade Organization issues.
the trade with the Americas is one of the more vital economic engines
for South Florida," Mr. Sanchez said.
of the trade talks "will depend on who's the president and what
the makeup of the Congress is," Mr. Sanchez said. "Depending
on that outcome we'll know where it's going."
said he believes that whoever is elected "will be very supportive
of the Free Trade Area of the Americas."