The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was an agreement that hoped to open up free trade to North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, except Cuba. Negotiations began right after the completion of NAFTA in 1994 and were supposed to have been completed by January 1, 2005.1 The negotiations for the FTAA were abandoned in 2003, in hopes of eventually coming to a better model of regional integration. In the last round of negotiations, trade ministers from 34 countries met in Miami, United States, in November 2003 to discuss the proposal.2
Significant opposition to the FTAA came from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Venezuala) and the Mercosur (Argentina and Brazil). This is because import-competing sectors in Mercosur countries (capital goods, automobiles, and even some agricultural goods) would come under much greater adjustment pressures in such an FTAA.3
Currently the FTAA does not exist and has no members. However, roadblocks to regional integration in the Americas are being eased by a number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements between individual countries. These agreements include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Mercosur Group.
1. FTAA. Retrieved from http://www.globalexchange.org/resources/FTAA
2. Free Trade Area of the Americas. November, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.ftaa-alca.org/Ministerials/Miami/Miami_e.asp
3. Laird, Sam. Mercosur: Objectives and Achievements. 1997. Retrieved from http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ptpr9702.pdf