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US-Chile Sign Agreement on Environment Coop.

U.S.-Chile Sign Agreement on Environmental Cooperation

Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Remarks at the Sgning of an Agreement Between the United States and the Republic of Chile on Environmental Cooperation Santiago, Chile June 17, 2003

Ambassador Barros, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be here in Santiago to sign this important agreement on environmental cooperation between our two countries. This accord is part of the historic U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement that was signed in Miami by our two countries a little less than two weeks ago. Together these agreements will promote and build upon our history of trade and environmental cooperation and open up new possibilities for our countries.

Let me take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to all of you who played a role in concluding this environmental cooperation agreement. I trust that we will continue to work actively to ensure its success. Many of you spent significant amounts of energy and time. In particular, I want to say thank you to the head of the Chilean delegation, Ambassador Jose Manuel Ovalle, Director of the Environment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Alvaro Sapag of the National Environmental Commission, and Edda Rossi, lead negotiator of the environment chapter of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement. I also want to thank U.S. Ambassador to Chile Bill Brownfield, our Charge d Affairs Phil Goldberg, and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bud Rock, all who participated actively in the negotiation of this agreement back in January. And we recognize the lead negotiators of the FTA, Osvaldo Rosales and Regina Vargo, who recognized the importance of linking environmental cooperation to the FTA.

The Environmental Cooperation Agreement highlights the significance our two nations place on building capacity to protect the environment in concert with the strengthening of trade and investment relations. It reaffirms our view that economic development, social development, and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development.

This environmental cooperation agreement will create a bilateral, consultative mechanism to address environmental and natural resource issues. This new mechanism, the Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation, will be capable of implementing an active program of work on environmental and natural resource issues benefiting our countries and the global environment.

By the time we concluded our trade negotiations, I note -- and this reflects both our seriousness of purpose and yours -- that the United States and Chile had already identified eight cooperative projects that we are pursuing or will pursue for the advancement of our common commitment to achieve sustainable development. Some of the goals we hope to accomplish with these projects are:

* to develop a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register;
* to reduce contamination resulting from past mining practices; and
* to protect wildlife by building capacity to manage and protect biological resources in Chile and in the Latin American region.

These projects are only the beginning of our partnership. The Joint Commission will meet at least once every 2 years to develop and revise its program of work for the future. The Commission also will examine and evaluate ongoing cooperative activities under the agreement and make recommendations on how to further improve our cooperation.

Our future program of work will include joint activities related:

* to the exchange of information on environmental policies, laws, and practices;
* to the collection and publication of comparable information on our two countries environmental laws and enforcement activities; and
* to the promotion of good domestic practices leading to sustainable management of the environment.

To achieve these objectives, the Department of State will be working very closely with U.S. implementing agencies. These include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Again thank you all, and let's move forward together to implement this important agreement we have negotiated.


Released on June 19, 2003

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