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What Is The Ftaa And How Does It Affect Me?

968 words - 4 pages

In order to strengthen the economy of America, the FTAA, the Free Trade Areas of the Americas was created. 34 nations are working together to improve the trade laws and regulations. Joining the United States with this goal was: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. This effort began at the Summit of the Americas, in December 1994 in Miami, Florida. An agreement was reached between the Heads of State and Government for 34 democracies in the region that would eliminate the barriers to trade and investment. They knew this could not be done overnight, and that they would continue to build the FTAA with the hopes of substantial progress by 2000. They also agreed that the total negotiations would not be complete until possibly 2005.During the beginning of the FTAA, the 34 elected Ministers developed two work groups. The work groups were established to provide a breakdown of to assist in identifying the trade-related areas they needed to concentrate on. Based on the work groups they developed a Draft Agreement was written. The First Draft Agreement was broke down into nine chapters Agriculture, Government Procurements, Investments, Market Access, Investments, Subsidies (Antidumping and Countervailing Duties), Dispute Settlement, Services, Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Policies. Since 1994 they have revised the draft agreement twice. The most current draft agreement was written in November 2003. Since The First Draft Agreement was written the draft agreement has grown from nine chapters to twenty-four chapters. Some of the additional chapters are: Tariffs and Non-Tariff Measures, Safeguard Measures and General Expectations.The FTAA is very complicated and governs many different areas so kids my age may find it hard to realize what the FTAA has to do with us. One way the FTAA should be of concern to my piers is this; unless the second proposed clause of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Treaty is deleted Internet music swapping will become a felony offense in 2005. The FTAA will require all countries to change their domestic laws on a wide range of topics, including intellectual property rights. The draft intellectual property rights chapter in the FTAA Agreement changes the criminal procedures and penalties against intellectual property infringements. One clause would require countries to send non-commercial users such as Kaaza or Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharers to prison. It is estimated that 60 million Americans use file-sharing software in the US alone. Many of my friends and relatives are guilty of this as well. I hardly think of these friends as being guilty of a felony.There is one group called...

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