Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
May 10, 2009


San Salvador, El Salvador

We, the Ministers of Foreign Relations and Ministers responsible for Trade, and the senior representatives of the governments of Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic;

Welcoming the presence of Brazil and Uruguay as observers;

Welcoming also the presence for the first time of Trinidad and Tobago as an observer;

Receiving also with pleasure the representatives of the Interamerican Development Bank, the Andean Development Fund, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Organization of American States, the Pan- American Health Organization, the Secretary General of the Central American Integration System, and the Secretary of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration;

Renewing our shared commitment to promote social justice through broad-based growth and economic development that increases equality, social cohesion and prosperity of the hemisphere;

Reaffirming that in light of the current global financial crisis and its effects, a nondiscriminatory free trade system and open trade and investment policies are essential for economic growth, the reduction of poverty, and sustainable development;

Renewing our commitment to avoid protectionist measures;

Acknowledging that an environment of open trade and investment policies that fosters inclusive prosperity demands active participation by all actors, including government, the private sector, labor and civil society;

Reaffirming the guidelines and actions adopted in the 1st Ministerial of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative, celebrated in Panama the 10th of December of 2008, for work in the thematic areas of increasing opportunities, deepening trade architecture, expanding cooperation on development and competitiveness, and enhancing cooperation on labor and environment;

Reaffirming, likewise, the commitment of our countries to efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals;

Encouraging participation in the 3rd Americas Competitiveness Forum in Santiago, Chile, that will take place September 27 to 29; and

Taking note of the activities and proposals outlined in this meeting by the countries that are coordinating work in each thematic area.

THEREFORE,

We resolve to strengthen cooperation to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are broadly shared in our societies, with a special emphasis on creating greater opportunities for micro, small, and medium agricultural, industrial and service enterprises, for youth, for Afro-descendant and indigenous communities, and for vulnerable groups, with a focus on gender.

We reiterate our call to the international community for an expeditious, ambitious, and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to resist protectionism to confront the global financial crisis and its effects.

We recognize that Free Trade Agreements contribute to economic growth and comprehensive development in our societies, and we resolve to work to deepen the commercial ties that unite us, promoting new trade and investment initiatives in the spirit of social inclusion.

We further resolve to redouble our efforts to adopt policies and programs that promote prosperity and sustainable development, that, with an emphasis on the promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit, empower micro, small, and medium agricultural, industrial and service enterprises to take advantage of the opportunities of national and international markets.

We agree to strengthen activities designed to:

  • Expand educational opportunities and access to health care, especially for women, youth, and vulnerable groups, to enable them to participate effectively in the global economy.
  • Promote the teaching of foreign languages through teacher training, the exchange of experts, and the exploration of other methods such as distance learning.
  • Expand opportunities for small farmers and rural communities by promoting market-based agricultural diversification as well as improving and strengthening technical assistance programs that foster competitiveness.
  • Identify and exchange best practices to expand opportunities for micro, small, and medium enterprises, taking into account gender and age.
  • Promote the exchange of best practices, cooperation, and coordination for projects in energy, water, environment, infrastructure and services that favor regional integration.
  • Expand access to financing for micro, small, and medium enterprises, including through greater cooperation with regional development banks.
  • Strengthen technical assistance and entrepreneurial training programs for micro, small, and medium enterprises to improve their value chain linkages and exports, with special emphasis on product quality certification.
  • Promote cooperation oriented to electricity integration and the development of renewable energy, to promote energy security and environmental sustainability.
  • Promote public-private partnerships and strategic alliances.
  • Identify and exchange best practices for the effective enforcement of fundamental labor rights and decent working conditions.
  • Identify and exchange best practices for the effective enforcement of environmental laws, including mechanisms for the participation of civil society in environmental decision-making.
  • Foster cooperation in the facilitation of regional trade, through the exchange of best practices and the most efficient and competitive models in the hemisphere.
  • Exchange experiences and strengthen poverty-reduction programs that help our countries be better prepared for and minimize the negative effects of economic crises on our populations, especially the most vulnerable groups.
  • Foster best practices for the promotion of free competition in the market to elevate the level of competitiveness in the sectors that generate trade, or could generate trade, with such practices.

We agree, further,

  • To instruct the thematic area coordinating countries to present uniform procedures that include terms of reference for the respective groups, based on the guidelines from the Declaration of Panama, this Declaration, and other initiatives that develop the themes, before the end of July 2009.
  • To continue supporting the work led by Chile, Honduras, Panama and Peru in their capacity as thematic area coordinating countries and invite all the participating countries to redouble their efforts with the goal of achieving concrete results for the 3rd Ministerial Meeting.
  • To invite the new Chair to work together with the thematic area coordinating countries, regional organizations, and in particular with the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), to define the modalities and mechanisms of technical and functional support that the thematic areas and the Chair require to ensure the advancement of the objectives and mandates proposed in this Declaration.
  • To instruct again the coordinating countries to report on the progress made in their respective thematic areas at the next Ministerial Meeting.

Finally, we agreed to meet again in Costa Rica, by the first trimester of 2010, to evaluate the advances achieved in implementing this Declaration, in the thematic areas established in Panama as well as the new elements agreed to in San Salvador. Likewise, we agreed to hold the subsequent meeting in the Dominican Republic.