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AG/RES. 1406 (XXVI-O/96)


(Resolution adopted at the eighth plenary session, held on June 7, 1996)


HAVING SEEN the Report of the Permanent Council on Legal Development of Integration (AG/doc.3354/96 rev. 1); and


That integration of the countries of the Hemisphere is one of the objectives of the inter-American system, and that the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) provides that member states shall direct their efforts toward this aim and take the necessary measures to accelerate the integration process;

That, as stated in resolution AG/RES. 1209 (XXIII-O/93), integration is a means of creating new economic and social circumstances to help reduce the extreme poverty afflicting broad segments of the region's population and strengthen democracy in the Hemisphere;

That in the Declaration and the Plan of Action adopted by the heads of state and government at the Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in December 1994, a decision was made "to begin immediately to construct the 'Free Trade Area of the Americas' (FTAA), in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated," and to make concrete progress toward the attainment of this objective, taking fully into account the progress already made through unilateral undertakings by the countries and the significant achievements of regional and subregional integration agreements;

That, moreover, the Summit of the Americas assigned the OAS a "paramount" role in following up on these decisions; that, with specific regard to the measures envisioned in the Plan of Action, the Summit gave the OAS "a particularly important supporting role" in connection with free trade in the Americas; and that it called upon the OAS, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and other regional and subregional organizations, to actively assist the countries of the region in attaining this objective;

That the Secretary General of the Organization, in his document "A New Vision of the OAS," presented to the Permanent Council in April 1995, placed special emphasis on the need to give the Organization of American States a more active role in dialogue and cooperation in the areas of free trade and economic integration;

That, at its twenty-fifth regular session, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Montrouis: A New Vision of the OAS, in which it included the Secretary General's proposals on this matter; and supported efforts under way in the Organization to help the member states bring to fruition the decision adopted by the heads of state and government at the Summit of the Americas to conclude negotiations on establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005;

That, moreover, in his document "The Law in a New Inter-American Order," presented to the Permanent Council on February 2, 1996, and now being studied by the governments, the Secretary General of the Organization explains that "from the legal standpoint, there [are] some important complementary aspects of the integration processes: on the one hand, there is the international framework itself in both its regulatory and institutional aspects, and, on the other hand, there is the need to harmonize domestic legislation. The Organization of American States, which includes all the countries of the Hemisphere that today are protagonists in these integration processes, offers [the] most suitable framework for this task, which requires an ongoing joint effort"; and

That the Organization of American States is promoting greater cooperation and linkage with the subregional and regional integration mechanisms and organizations, and with other institutions working to develop the countries in the Hemisphere, for which purpose it is conducting certain legal studies to assist in the important efforts of those mechanisms, organizations, and institutions,


1. To note with satisfaction the Report of the Permanent Council on Legal Development of Integration.

2. To recommend to the Permanent Council that, within allocated resources, it convene as soon as possible a technical-legal meeting to address the various legal dimensions of regional economic integration, thereby identifying areas that could be addressed by concrete projects in this field, in cooperation with regional and subregional integration mechanisms or with other institutions that share this inter-American objective.

3. To request the Permanent Council to arrange for representatives of member state governments to participate in the meeting and for it to be supported by regional and subregional economic integration bodies, the Inter-American Juridical Committee, and the Special Committee on Trade; and also to request the Secretary General to provide the corresponding support through the Secretariat for Legal Affairs and the Trade Unit.

4. To recommend to the Permanent Council that it report to the General Assembly at its next regular session on the implementation of this resolution.

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