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Free Trade Area of the Americas

From Academic Kids

The Free Trade Area of the Americas or FTAA (in Spanish: Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas, ALCA; in French: Zone de libre-échange des Amériques, ZLEA; in Portuguese: Área de Livre Comércio das Américas, ALCA) is a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce trade barriers among all States in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba. In the latest round of negotiations, officials of 34 nations met in Miami on November 16, 2003 to discuss the proposal. The proposed agreement would be modeled after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Discussions have faltered over similar points as the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks; developed nations seek expanded trade in services and increased intellectual property rights, while less developed nations seek an end to agricultural subsidies and freer trade in agricultural goods. Similar to the WTO talks, Brazil has taken a leadership role among the less developed nations, while the United States has taken a similar role for the developed nations.

Talks began with the Summit of the Americas in Miami in April 1994, but the FTAA was brought to public attention during the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in 2001, a meeting targeted by massive anti-corporatization and anti-globalization protests. The Miami negotiations in 2003 were met by similar protests, though perhaps not as large.

In previous negotiations, the United States has pushed for a single comprehensive agreement that would reduce trade barriers for goods, while increasing intellectual property protection. Specific intellectual property protections could include Digital Millennium Copyright Act-style copyright protections, similar to the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Another protection would likely restrict the reimportation or cross-importation of pharmecuticals, similar to the proposed agreement between the US and Canada.

Brazil has proposed a measured, three-track approach that calls for a series of bilateral agreements to reduce specific tariffs on goods, and a hemispheric pact on rules of origin and dispute resolution processes. Brazil seeks to omit more controversial issues from the agreement, leaving them to the WTO.

The location of the FTAA Secretariat is to be determined in 2005. The main contending cities are Miami, Florida and Port-of-Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

Contents

1 Related articles
2 External links
3 Articles and papers

History pre-1994

In the 1960s there were several modest attempts at regional integration in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Though not technically correct, states in these regions are often referred to collectively as “Latin America”. The approach of these regional initiatives was to lower tariffs internally while maintaining high trade barriers against non-members. Regional initiatives included the 1960 Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA), the 1960 Central American Common Market (CACM), the 1965 Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), and the 1969 Andean Pact.

Many Latin American countries experienced a debt crisis in the 1980s, such as Mexico in 1982. These debt crises contributed to a ‘lost decade’ in terms of economic growth, the adoption of numerous stabilization and structural adjustment programs with the IMF, and a widespread re-evaluation of interventionist, protectionist and inward-looking development strategies. In 1984 the U.S. unilaterally lowered its tariffs against many states in the Caribbean Basin, as part of its Caribbean Basin Initiative.

Many Latin American countries took non-discriminatory steps towards trade liberalization in the late 1980s (lowering tariffs against all countries - not just selected ones). This was done partly to follow through on GATT (now the WTO) commitments, but also unilaterally as a domestic policy choice or at the urging of the IMF, the World Bank, the IDB, and USAID. Average tariff levels fell to about 20% in the region by the end of the 1980s.

Another wave of regional trade agreements took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1989 the AP agreed to move towards freer trade within the region, as did CACM and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in 1990. The Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) notably including Brazil was established in 1991 with similar plans for freer regional trade.

The U.S. entered into the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1989, and the beginning of negotiations towards free trade between Mexico and the U.S. were announced the next year in 1990. These negotiations were soon expanded to include Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Several Latin American countries approached the U.S. after the announcement, seeking to negotiate their own bilateral free trade agreements with the US, but the U.S. refused to negotiate any more bilateral PTAs in the region until NAFTA was implemented. Instead, in June 1990 U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative with the goal of achieving hemispheric free trade by 2000.

In 1994 NAFTA came into force and the 1986-1994 Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations were completed. The goal of hemispheric free trade, which had been renamed the FTAA, was postponed until 2005 primarily at the request of Canada and the U.S.

Related articles

External links

Articles and papers

es:Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas fr:Zone de libre-échange des Amériques it:Zona di libero scambio delle Americhe pt:Área de Livre Comércio das Américas

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