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Integration

Programs support international competitiveness in globalized world

Since its founding in 1959 the Inter-American Development Bank has placed the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean at the top of its agenda.

The IDB’s role achieved new prominence following the Summit of the Americas in 1994, when the Bank was selected to form a part of the Tripartite Committee - in conjunction with the Organization of American States and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Tripartite Committee provides technical support for negotiating groups that are carrying out the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process, particularly in the areas of market access, agriculture, and government procurement.

An IDB grant of $3 million in 2000 provided resources to the FAA’s rotating Secretariat, which is based in Panama until 2003, enabling it to acquire the human and physical infrastructure necessary to fulfill its mandate to facilitate negotiations. A similar grant supported the Secretariat during its stay in Miami.

Integration projects in 2000

The IDB gives a priority to projects that promote the economic and physical integration of the Americas. The Bank approved $70 million in financing during 2000 for the development, construction, operation and maintenance of a private sector, 437-kilometer natural gas pipeline in northern Argentina that will supply fuel to a 600-megawatt thermoelectric power plant in Uruguaiana, Brazil.

The Bank also approved a $60 million loan to improve western integration surface roads in western Paraguay that connect to the Bolivian border, as well as a $200 million loan to Argentina that will finance the upgrading of about 1,000 kilometers of the national highway system, including links to Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile.

Argentina during 2000 also received a $7.5 million IDB loan to strengthen the negotiating capacity of the Foreign Ministry in trade negotiations. The financing followed a $5 million loan to Argentina in 1999 to strengthen the External Trade Subscretariat of the Secretariat of Industry, Trade, and Mining and to coordinate trade policy with private sector and provincial government bodies.

The Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the IDB Group, has approved a cluster of projects that enhanced the capacity of countries to meet the standards of the regional quality management capacity of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other internationally recognized standards.

During 2000, Uruguay received a MIF grant of $1.6 million and Uruguay a MIF grant of $1.45 million to help small and medium-sized firms meet ISO standards.

Colombia received a MIF grant of $1.5 million to help expand market information to exporters through the Internet.

Loans are currently being processes for Guatemala and Honduras under a New Trade Facility, which provides for fast-track approval for loans of up to $5 million to modernize trade-related ministries.

Peru and Ecuador

In March of 2000, during its Annual Meeting in New Orleans, the IDB chaired the first Consultative Group for Ecuador Peru, which pledged more than $160 million from the international community for projects to help implement the Binational Development Plan to promote peace in the once disputed frontier region.

Over the next 10 years, the plan is expected to mobilize $3 billion in resources from multilateral, national, and private sector sources.

Central American and Caribbean Trade Preferences

During 2000 a law adopted by the U.S. Congress gave 24 countries of the Caribbean virtual duty-free access to the U.S. market through the year 2008, or until the Free Trade Area of the Americas goes into effect. The IDB hosted a conference in Washington to encourage beneficiary countries to take advantage of the new trade opportunities.

Department of Integration and Regional Programs

The Department of Integration and Regional Programs provides technical support to the Bank’s integration and trade activities, including the FTAA process and the major subregional integration groups. It also provides technical support - through its Integration, Trade and Hemispheric Issues Division - to the Bank’s New Trade Facility, and it also prepares and implements the Bank’s strategies for support of the subregions as well as analytical studies of integration and trade processes in the Americas.

The department’s Statistics and Quantitative Analysis Unit develops, maintains, and updates an extensive array of databases on trade and tariffs in the Americas.

The Institute for Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is part of the Integration and Regional Programs Department. It has supported the integration process for more than 30 years through research, technical assistance, and training, and it signed a cooperative agreement with the World Trade Organization to finance and organize WTO training courses throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

During 2000 INTAL prepared and disseminated 68 publications in support of integration, and it was active in the development and updating of the INTAL-Mercosur Normative Database (BIM), the INTEG Bibliographic Database, the System of Statistics and Trade in the Americas (DATAINTAL), and the program for holding negotiation rounds. INTAL also updated and redesigned the database of basic instruments of economic integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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