Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations [Updated July 15, 2008]   [open pdf - 73KB]

This CRS [Congressional Research Service] report covers policy issues concerning a free trade area of the Americas. From the Summary: "In 1994, 34 Western Hemisphere nations met at the first Summit of the Americas, envisioning a plan to complete a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by January 1, 2005. Nine years later, at the November 2003 Miami trade ministerial, the United States and Brazil, the FTAA co-chairs, brokered a compromise. It moved the FTAA away from the comprehensive, single undertaking principle, toward a two-tier framework comprising a set of 'common rights and obligations' for all countries, combined with voluntary plurilateral arrangements with country benefits related to commitments. So far, defining this concept has proven elusive, causing the FTAA talks to stall and the January 1, 2005 deadline to be missed. At the fourth Summit of the Americas held in November 2005, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela blocked an effort to restart negotiations, and should Venezuela become a full member of Mercosur, resistence to resuming FTAA negotiations may harden. This report follows the FTAA process and will be updated periodically."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS20864
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