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The Free Trade Area Of The Americas (Ftaa)

2997 words - 12 pages

The Free Trade Area of the Americas, which was proposed to be completed by January 01, 2005, would be the world's largest free trade zone. This American-led western hemisphere proposal would encompass 34 nations and 800 million people. The agreement is based on the NAFTA and covers such issues as Institutional Issues, Transparency, Environment Provisions, Labor Provisions, Tariffs and Non-Tariff Measures, and Investment as well as others. The details of the agreement may be viewed at http://www.ftaa-alca.org/. The purpose of this paper is not to identify the issues contained in the FTAA agreement, but rather to identify some of the major stakeholders and their views throughout the progress of negotiations.U.S.A.The United States of America is fighting to maintain its superpower status, and the FTAA is a milestone in its continuous battle for power. Several different groups have varied opinions of the FTAA. These groups consist of the American politicians, U.S. business, and the general public.American Political ViewBush's supporters view the FTAA as a "powerful tool for improving America's relations with Latin leaders." However, many negative sentiments have emerged from powerful lobbyists and political groups. Democrats and labor officials both believe the FTAA would "encourage U.S. firms to relocate to places with less stringent laws, endangering American jobs and the environment." Given the case of NAFTA, there may be reason to worry.Despite resistance, which the Bush administration sees as futile, the U.S. is proceeding. The message at the U.S. Trade Representative's Office in November of last year was a clear commitment to moving forward with the FTAA, though at a slower pace: "Their plan is to continue negotiating a global free-trade agreement through the World Trade Organization, while creating pressure for the FTAA by knocking off smaller, bilateral agreements. One with Chile is done. A Central American Free Trade Agreement, called CAFTA, has been negotiated. And the Andean countries and Panama are next in line." CAFTA is critical to the FTAA's success and is challenged by the U.S. Democrats, who say it lacks adequate protections for workers and the environment.CAFTAThe Democrats do not stand alone in opposition to the stepping stone for the FTAA. The proposed agreement between the United States and five Central American nations: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua was signed on May 28; now it is up to Congress to vote. Other forces of opposition come from several Central American Immigrant Organizations (CAIOs), which represent tens of thousands of Central American immigrants in the United States. These organizations believe that CAFTA, [like many previous agreements focused on corporate expansion,] will only "deepen the profound inequalities that already plague Central American countries."CAFTA-style trade agreements help "to privatize key social services, eliminate subsidies to small farmers, and establish free...

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