Free Trade Area of the Americas: Major Policy Issues and Status of Negotiations and Major Policy Issues [Updated March 12, 2004] [open pdf - 38KB]
"In 1994, 34 Western Hemisphere nations met at the first Summit of the Americas, envisioning a plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by January 2005. Nine years later, the third draft text of the agreement was presented at the Miami trade ministerial held November 20-21, 2003. Deep differences remain unresolved, however, and, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration, have taken the FTAA in a new direction. It calls for a two-tier framework comprising a set of 'common rights and obligations' for all countries, augmented by voluntary plurilateral arrangements with country benefits related to commitments. A follow-up meeting in Puebla, Mexico was unable to clarify the details of this arrangement and negotiations will continue in late April 2004, when it is hoped that specific commitments will be defined. This report provides background and analysis for Congress on the proposed FTAA and will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, RS20864