Trade and the Americas [Updated September 20, 2002]   [open pdf - 79KB]

"At the Summit of the Americas held in December 1994, 34 hemispheric democracies agreed to create a 'Free Trade Area of the Americas' (FTAA) no later than the year 2005. If created, the FTAA would have 34 members (Cuba is not included) with over 800 million people. The population alone would make it the largest free trade area in the world with more than twice the 375 million of the now 15-nation European Union. In the seven plus years following the 1994 summit, Western Hemisphere trade ministers have met six times to advance the negotiating process. At the sixth meeting in Buenos Aires in April 2001, ministers made public a draft FTAA agreement that included preliminary chapters on all nine negotiating groups: market access, agriculture, intellectual property rights, services, investment, government procurement, competition policy, dispute settlement, and subsidies. The seventh Ministerial will be held in Quito, Ecuador starting November 2, 2002. The United States and Brazil will assume co-chairmanship of the negotiations following the Quito meeting. Assessments differ on whether the movement toward hemispheric free trade is 'on-track' or 'off-track.' The former perspective holds that a solid foundation and structure for the negotiations has been agreed to, draft chapters have been submitted, and that a schedule for tariff negotiations starting December 15, 2002 is in place. The latter perspective holds that political and economic turbulence in Latin America are impeding efforts to achieve freer trade."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB95017
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/
Media Type:
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