A Key to Hemispheric Integration

Mar 2004
FTAA negotiations have reached a decisive stage, as the deadline to conclude negotiations is less than a year away. After nine years of debate, the moment is approaching to make decisions that could finally bring to a reality the agreement that emerged from the 1994 Summit of the Americas. The November 2003 ministerial meeting in Miami met the objective of providing the FTAA process with new momentum in the difficult wake of the Cancún failure. Ministers of the continent made the negotiating rules more flexible, and opened the possibility that different countries could assume different levels of obligations in the FTAA. This resulted in the removal of one of the major ¿straitjackets¿ of the hemispheric negotiations. However, the Miami instructions do not contemplate a critical path to implement the ministerial mandate and to ensure that the initiative can be concluded, if possible, in the agreed date. The great challenge of the moment is, precisely, to translate the Miami agreement into a concrete instruction for the nine FTAA negotiating tables. In order to contribute to such an important effort this paper intends to answer the following question: Is there a formula, some principle or group of principles which could facilitate the implementation of the Miami 2003 Ministerial agreements?