Americas Conference Focused on Free Trade, Growth and Regional Integration; Latin America's Global Competitiveness Examined by Key Political, Economic Figures from the Region.
President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo called for developed countries to approach the particularities that poorer markets face with flexibility when negotiating free trade agreements. Jagdeo discussed preferential treatment that could phase out over time. "We are not asking for a free ride, we just want transition periods to adapt to new international trade rules," concluded Jagdeo. "It is a big disadvantage to smaller countries that can't achieve the economies of scale that allow them to compete with more established markets," he said.
In contrast to Maisto, Argentina's ambassador to the OAS, Rodolfo Gil, said many Latin Americans regret having believed that economic reforms would help them share in the American dream. "We have witnessed further exclusion, poverty and alienation," he said. This, in turn, has slowed efforts to integrate trade and reduce barriers. This result represents an obstacle for the signing and passing of the summit's final accord.
Panamanian president Martin Torrijos wrapped up the day's program by highlighting the key role his country plays as headquarters of the Panama Canal, a cornerstone of world trade. Referring to recent protests in his country surrounding social security reform, Torrijos said current efforts at dialogue are aimed at reaching an agreement and preserving political stability. He added that Panama "hoped to achieve fiscal balance by 2007" as well as economic growth of 6 percent.
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|Date:||Sep 30, 2005|
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