- Free Trade Area of the Americas
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) (Spanish: "Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas" (ALCA), French: "Zone de libre-échange des Amériques" (ZLÉA), Portuguese: "Área de Livre Comércio das Américas" (ALCA), Dutch: "Vrijhandelszone van de Amerika's") was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the
Americas. In the latest round of negotiations, trade ministers from 34 nations met in Miami, Florida, United States, in November 2003 to discuss the proposal. [http://www.ftaa-alca.org/Ministerials/Miami/Miami_e.asp] The proposed agreement was an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) between Canada, Mexicoand the United States. Against the market are positioned Cuba, Venezuelaand later Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaraguaand Honduras, which entered the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americasin response, and not strongly opposing but not supporting Argentina, Chileand Brazil.
Discussions have faltered over similar points as the
Doha Development Roundof World Trade Organization(WTO) talks; developed nations seek expanded trade in services and increased intellectual propertyrights, while less developed nations seek an end to agricultural subsidies and free trade in agricultural goods. Similar to the WTO talks, Brazilhas 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 Americasin Miamion December 11, 1994, but the FTAA came to public attention during the Quebec City Summit of the Americas, held in Canadain 2001, a meeting targeted by massive anti-corporatizationand anti-globalizationprotests. The Miami negotiations in 2003 met similar protests, though perhaps not as large. The last summit was held at Mar del Plata, Argentina, in November 2005, but no agreement on FTAA was reached. 26 of the 34 countries present at the negotiations pledged to meet again in 2006 to resume negotiations, but no such meeting took place.
In previous negotiations, the United States has pushed for a single comprehensive agreement to 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 pharmaceuticals, similar to the proposed agreement between the U.S. and Canada. Brazilhas 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 originand dispute resolution processes. Brazil seeks to omit the more controversial issues from the agreement, leaving them to the WTO.
The location of the FTAA Secretariat was to have been determined in 2005. The contending cities are: Atlanta,
Chicago, Galveston, Houston and Miami in the United States; Cancúnand Puebla in Mexico; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Panama City, Panama; and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The U.S. city of Colorado Springsalso submitted its candidacy in the early days but subsequently withdrew. [http://www.ftaa-alca.org/tnc/candidate_e.asp] Miami, Panama City and Puebla served successively as interim secretariat headquarters during the negotiation process. As of November 2007, only Miami in the United States and Port of Spain in Trinidad appear to be actively vying for the secretariat headquarters. [http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/071129/story2.shtml] , [http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_archive?id=161296488] [cite web |title=Ministry of Trade and Industry: CARICOM Vies for FTAA Secretariat |url=http://www.tradeind.gov.tt/Business_Dev/FTAA/case%20for%20T&T.htm |accessdate=2008-06-27 ] [cite web |title=Trinidad and Tobago Express newspaper: Manning wants Filipino labour |url=http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_archive?id=161258344 |accessdate=2008-06-27 ] [cite web |title=Trinidad and Tobago Express newspaper: PM: T&T still pursuing FTAA headquarters |url=http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_archive?id=161119329|accessdate=2008-06-27 ]
The failure of the Mar del Plata summit to set out a comprehensive agenda to keep FTAA alive has meant that there is little chance for a comprehensive trade agreement in the foreseeable future.
The following countries have shown interest at some point in becoming members of the Free Trade Area of the Americas [http://www.ftaa-alca.org/busfac/clist_e.asp] :
*flagcountry|Antigua and Barbuda
*flagcountry|Saint Kitts and Nevis
*flagcountry|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
*flagcountry|Trinidad and Tobago
In the 1960s there were several modest and humble attempts at regional integration in
South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. 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 North American countries experienced a
debtcrisis 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 adjustmentprograms with the IMF, and a widespread re-evaluation of interventionist, protectionistand 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 tarifflevels 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 Mexico 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 U.S., but the U.S. refused to negotiate more bilateral PTAs in the region until NAFTA was implemented. Instead, in June 1990 U.S. President George H. W. Bushannounced the Enterprise for the Americas Initiativewith the goal of achieving hemispheric free trade by 2000.
In 1994 NAFTA came into force and the 1988–1994
Uruguay Roundof General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(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.
Opposition and critics
Huge movements have opposed the FTAA at every stage of its development. A coalition of senior citizens, labor groups, environmentalists, human rights advocates and peace advocates as well as concerned citizens have protested both major meetings of the FTAA.
A vocal critic of the FTAA is
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who has described it as an " annexationplan" and a "tool of imperialism" for the exploitation of Latin America Fact|date=October 2007. As a counterproposal to this initiative, Chávez has promoted the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas("Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas", ALBA), based on the model of the European Union, which makes emphasis on energy and infrastructure agreements that are gradually extended to other areas finally to include the total economic, political and military integration of the member states.
Evo Moralesof Boliviahas referred to the US-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, as "an agreement to legalize the colonization of the Americas."
On the other hand, the presidents of
Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, have stated that they do not oppose the FTAA but they do demand that the agreement provide for the elimination of US agriculture subsidies, the provision of effective access to foreign markets and further consideration towards the needs and sensibilities of its members.
One of the most contentious issues of the treaty proposed by the United States is with concerns to
patents and copyrights. Critics claim that if the measures proposed by the US were implemented and applied this would prevent scientific research in Latin America, causing as a consequence more inequalities and technological dependence from the developed countries. On the issue of patents, some critics of the FTAA, such as Canadiannationalist Maude Barlow, have accused the US of attempting to patent Latin America-made inventions. On the Council of Canadiansweb site, Barlow wrote: "This agreement sets enforceable global rules on patents, copyrights and trademark. It has gone far beyond its initial scope of protecting original inventions or cultural products and now permits the practice of patenting plants and animal forms as well as seeds. It promotes the private rights of corporations over local communities and their genetic heritage and traditional medicines." [http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/MBonFTAA.html]
Implementation of a full multilateral FTAA between all parties would be eased by enlargement of existing agreements.
North America, with the exception of Cubaand Haiti(which does not participate in economic integration with the Caricom) are almost finished to set up a subcontinental free trade area. At this point Agreements within the Area of the Americas include:
Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement(1988; superseded by the NAFTA)
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Dominican Republic (superseded by
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Trinidad and Tobago (superseded by a Costa Rica -
*flagcountry|Canada- flagcountry|United States- flagcountry|Mexico:
North American Free Trade Agreement(1993)
* (DR-CAFTA; incl. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic; 2008)
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Canada
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Mexico
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Chile
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|CARICOM
*flagcountry|Canada- flagcountry|Colombia (Pending ratification)
*flagcountry|Argentina- flagcountry|Brazil-flagcountry|Paraguay- flagcountry|Uruguay -
*flagcountry|Costa Rica- flagcountry|Panama just pending approval by the Costa Rican parliament.
*flagcountry|Canada-flagcountry|CARICOM: [http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/caricom.aspx Canada-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Free Trade Negotiations]
*flagcountry|Canada-Central America (CA4TA - Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras) [http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ca4.aspx Canada-Central America (CA4TA) Free Trade Negotiations] Negotiations on hold
Mercosur: [http://www.mfaft.gov.jm/?q=trade-agreements-to-which-jamaica-is-a-party CARICOM bilateral trade agreements]
List of Free Trade Agreements
Transatlantic Free Trade Area( TAFTA)
Africa-South America Cooperative Forum[http://www.nationnews.com/358952884370124.php]
North American Free Trade Agreement
Union of South American Nations
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas
Free trade areas in Europe
European Free Trade Association(EFTA)
Central European Free Trade Agreement(CEFTA)
* [http://www.ftaa-alca.org/ The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process] , official home page
* [http://www.latinbusinesschronicle.com/ftaa.htm Latin Business Chronicle] : FTAA Reports & Links
* [http://www.ftaaimc.org/ Indymedia FTAA News]
* [http://www.peoplesconsultation.org/ Background information about the FTAA and public participation]
* [http://www.ips-dc.org/global_econ/FTAA%20chart%20-%20english%20-%20final.pdf Comparing the official agreement and alternative visions]
* [http://www.thebta.org Border Trade Alliance]
* [http://www.stoptheftaa.org Stop The FTAA] , by the
John Birch Society, a conservative alternative opposition.
* [http://infoshop.org/inews/ftaa_miami.html Media Gallery of the FTAA Protests]
* [http://ftaaimc.org/miamimodel The Miami Model] Documentary
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/business/2004/world_trade/default.stm The battle over trade] , BBC News
* [http://www.midwestunrest.net Midwest Unrest]
* [http://bilateraux.cjb.net Scheduled 2005 Demonstration in Montréal, QC]
*es icon [http://www.alternativabolivariana.org/ Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMPlQNp_YXg&feature=PlayList&p=DA2B871E79C8B6F7&index=0&playnext=1 "R.I.P. Here lies the FTAA"] Video extracts of the Mar Del Plata rounds in 2005 with English subtitles.
* [http://www.sice.oas.org/agreements_e.asp] List of Free Trade Agreements from the
Articles and papers
* [http://www.latinbusinesschronicle.com/reports/columns/1205/farnsworth.htm FTAA Delayed, Not Over] . By Eric Farnsworth, Council of the Americas, December 2005
* [http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article_editorial?id=35690576 Whither the FTAA?] (
November 10, 2005), Guyana Chronicle Newspaper
* [http://www.washtimes.com/business/20031117-092154-9493r.htm Canada, Chile thwart U.S.–Brazilian plan] , AP news article
* [http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/trade/ftaamyths.html Myths of the FTAA] , FoodFirst.org Institute for Food and Development Policy
* [http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=1064 Why say no to FTAA] , bilaterals.org
* [http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/MBonFTAA.html The Free Trade Area of the Americas and the Threat to Social Programs, Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice in Canada and the Americas]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Free Trade Area of the Americas — [friː treɪd eərɪə əv ȓiː ə merɪkəz], die Amerikanische Freihandelszone (FTAA) … Universal-Lexikon
Free Trade Area of the Americas — Die (Gesamt )Amerikanische Freihandelszone (englisch: Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); spanisch: Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas (ALCA), portugiesisch: Área de Livre Comércio das Américas (ALCA) sowie französisch: Zone de libre… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Free Trade Area of the Americas — ⇡ FTAA … Lexikon der Economics
Free Trade Agreement of the Americas — (FTAA) An effort to unite the economies of the Western Hemisphere into a single free trade arrangement. The Heads of State of the 34 democracies in the region agreed to construct a Free Trade Area of the Americas and to complete negotiations for… … Dictionary of automotive terms
Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific Region — The Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific Region (FTAAP) is a proposed free trade area involving the member nations of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization. Such a free trade area would involve the 21 member nations, including… … Wikipedia
Free trade — Not to be confused with Free market. World trade A series on Trade … Wikipedia
Quebec City Summit of the Americas — The Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on the weekend of April 20, 2001, was a round of negotiations regarding a proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. The talks are perhaps better known for the security preparations… … Wikipedia
Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas — The seaside resort of Mar del Plata, in the province|Buenos Aires|Argentina, about 400 km (250 miles) southeast of the capital, was the venue of the Fourth Summit of the Americas between 4 November and 5 November, 2005. The summit gathered… … Wikipedia
United States–Colombia Free Trade Agreement — The United States Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) (Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y Estados Unidos (TLC)), is a bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia. Sometimes called the Colombia Free Trade… … Wikipedia
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas — The Bolivarian Alternative for the People of Our America (Spanish: Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América or ALBA which also means dawn in Spanish) is an international cooperation organization based upon the idea of social,… … Wikipedia