Free Trade Area of the Americas: The Scope of the Negotiations

Jun 2003
The purpose of this work is to analyze the negotiation agenda of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), its participants¿ main interests and the main conflicts that might arise in the process. Hence, a revision of the core interests pursued by countries in each of the nine FTAA negotiating groups is made. Interests are classified into "defensive" and "offensive". The first, are those pursued by the status quo, generally associated with the protection of the domestic market, and the latter, respond to the objective of achieving free access to the markets of participating countries. Then, diverse factors characterizing the FTAA negotiation as a unique initiative, are examined, namely: (1) the ambitious negotiation agenda and the relatively short time for its accomplishment; (2) the high number of participating countries; (3) diversity in size and productive structure of participating countries; (4) the coincidence of FTAA negotiations, the Doha Round and trade agreements signed by a significant number of countries in the region; (5) the coexistence of the future hemispheric agreement with current trade and other agreements in the region; and (6) the USA political environment.