Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations [Updated November 8, 2005] [open pdf - 42KB]
"In 1994, 34 Western Hemisphere nations met at the first Summit of the Americas, envisioning a plan for completing 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 Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 4-5, 2005, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela blocked an effort to restart negotiations in 2006, which now appear to rely, at a minimum, on the resolution of agricultural issues in the WTO Doha Round before they can resume. This report will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RS20864