NEWS RELEASE 12/15/00

International Efforts Lead to Third Edition of GAAP Comparison

Norwalk, CT, December 15, 2000—Economic globalization requires increased international comparability in financial reporting. With this important goal in mind, accounting standard setters in Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the United States have completed cooperative efforts to produce the latest edition of a report comparing generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in their countries. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has published the analysis of accounting pronouncements, Significant Differences in GAAP in Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the United States.

The analysis is the result of a coordinated effort by the American Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) Committee for Cooperation on Financial Reporting Matters, a standing committee that includes representatives of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) as well as representatives of the standard setters in Canada, Chile, and Mexico. The analysis examines current accounting pronouncements and identifies differences in accounting standards, not just among the four countries, but also between those countries and the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). In addition to the English edition, the Canadian Institute also has published a French edition. A Spanish edition is scheduled for publication by the Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Públicos A.C. in April 2001.

The AFTA Committee was established in response to recommendations of the 1995 joint study, Financial Reporting in North America. Its objective is to improve the overall quality and comparability of standards and enhance users' ability to analyze and compare enterprises among the four countries.

Additional information, including how to order the English and French versions of the analysis, is available from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, 277 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3H2, Canada. Internet: http://www.cica.ca.

About the Financial Accounting Standards Board

Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting and reporting. Those standards govern the preparation of financial reports and are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because investors, creditors, auditors, and others rely heavily on credible, transparent, and comparable financial information.