Economic Development Leaders Will Work On Bid For Free Trade Headquarters
Written by Paola Iuspa on September 19, 2002
By Paola Iuspa
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The powers that steer Miami-Dade County’s growth will begin developing a package to lure the hemispheric headquarters of a proposed trade agreement for the Americas.
Executive committees of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, World Trade Center Miami and Beacon Council will meet jointly for the first time to discuss how to win the secretariat for The Free Trade Area of the Americas.
The FTAA would eliminate tariffs and quotas to allow free trade through the Americas. Its secretariat could become a hub as Brussels is to the European Union. The 34 member nations will choose the secretariat site.
William Talbert III, convention bureau CEO, said it’s time to organize since Congress recently gave President Bush authority to negotiate trade agreements. The 2005 deadline for a pact is also looming and other US cities may seek the headquarters.
Miami-Dade is promoting itself as most logical because of location and multicultural population, said Jerry Haar, senior research associate with the University of Miami’s North-South Center. US proposals will vie with sites such as Puebla, Mexico; Panama City and Trinidad & Tobago, he said.
The Oct. 11 power group meeting was scheduled a week after Department of Commerce officials told Miami leaders that Houston and San Diego might bid for the secretariat, said John Cordrey, Beacon Council senior vice president. Atlanta also has expressed interest.
The FTAA is now in Panama City. In February, it moves to Mexico City until 2005. Miami was host from 1999 to February 2001.
"To convince the federal government that we are the best US city," Dr. Cordrey said, "we need to develop a strong local and state effort."