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Joint Statement Released from Meeting of Senior Trade Policy Officials of Central America and the United States


Vice Ministers responsible for trade from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, the Director General for Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, and the Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Americas met on September 24, 2001 in Managua, Nicaragua to discuss the potential and means for deepening trade and investment relations between Central America and the United States. The officials issued the following Joint Statement on the results of their meeting:

We welcomed the opportunity to explore possibilities for the continual expansion of trade and investment relations between our countries, building upon the success, over nearly 20 years, of the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the regional integration efforts within Central America. The trade and investment linkages among our countries are more extensive than ever before, contributing to our shared objectives for democratic, peaceful, and economically open societies. These goals, and our cooperation to achieve them, are even more important today than they were two weeks ago, before the tragic terrorist attacks in the United States, which we condemn.

We recognize that the trade and economic dimensions of our relationship can and should be strengthened further. We will continue to pursue opportunities to achieve freer trade among our countries, through cooperation at the multilateral, regional, and bilateral levels.

We affirm our common commitment to the successful launch of a new round of multilateral negotiations at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference, to be held in Doha in November of this year, which should be sensitive to the concerns of developing nations. The new round must be crafted to maximize the potential of multilateral trade liberalization to generate economic benefits for the citizens of all WTO member nations.

We will continue to work vigorously towards the successful conclusion of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, with its promise of closer integration among the democratic nations of our hemisphere, taking into account differences in the levels of development and size of the economies of the Hemisphere to create opportunities for the full participation of the smaller economies and to increase their level of development.

We will also continue to explore possibilities for deeper and stronger bilateral trade ties between Central America and the United States. We agree to launch a work program of technical dialogues on key trade issues. We intend that these discussions will lay the groundwork for a more robust bilateral Central America-United States engagement aimed at removing impediments to trade and investment flows.