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IDB promotes dialogue on the implementation of free trade accords in Latin America

After undergoing a long and complex trade negotiation process, the majority of governments have come to realize that their tasks are not over when a trade agreement is signed and ratified. Instead, new challenges have emerged and they must be addressed in order to successfully implement a trade agreement.

In order to understand and help countries in the implementation of free trade agreements, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has initiated a project, based on various case studies, in order to identify common challenges and derive policy lessons that can be helpful in the implementation of other trade agreements.  

As part of the project, the Integration and Trade Sector (INT) of the Office of the Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge (VPS) organized a seminar on the implementation of free trade agreements in Latin America held on April 7th and 8th in the Bank’s headquarters in Washington, DC. 

During the seminar, participants discussed the challenges faced by countries in their efforts to effectively implement free trade agreements that were signed recently. The event also debated how the implementation process can and should contribute to the reform process, the strengthening of institutions and the improvement of the regulatory framework and the business climate to encourage competitiveness among countries. 

Case studies were discussed at the seminar, which will form part of the book “Implementation of Commercial Treaties in Latin America”.  The book is expected to be published during the second half of the year. The participants discussed, among other topics, the experiences in the implementation of the free trade agreements subscribed by Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Chile and Canada with the United States.

Specific experiences by country and sector will be analyzed in detail in this Bank publication, as well as, mechanisms and incentives that are used by developed countries in order to aid in the implementation. The book will help better understand the challenges that exist and how to derive lessons learned.

Government officials from countries in the hemisphere participated in the seminar, as did representatives from the private sector, think tanks and other international organizations and academia.