Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

Zone de libre-échange des Amériques (ZLEA)
Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas (ALCA)
Area de Livre Comércio das Américas

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1994-12-10 Miami FL USA


10-11 Dec 1994, Miami FL (USA), at summit conference of the 34 member countries of D-XD3030 - OAS, when OAS launched a series of annual meetings of ministers of trade to discuss mechanisms for negotiating the multilateralization of free trade in the hemisphere and principles for future deepening and widening of existing agreements. First Ministerial Meeting was held in Jun 1995, Denver CO (USA). Similar meeting, 7 Apr 2001, Buenos Aires (Argentina), reviewed the negotiating process; a resulting agreement of Heads of State covered finalization of the FTAA Agreement by Jan 2005, fully operational by Dec 2005. During last summit, Mar del Plata (Argentina), Jan 2005, no agreement was reached. Has also been referred to as America's Free Trade Area (AFTA) and as Western Hemisphere Free Trade Area (WHFTA).


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Progress towards agreement depends on 3 components:

- 'Trade Ministers of the Western Hemisphere' who have developed the overall work plan.

- 'FTAA Working Groups' (12) established by the Trade Ministers: Market access; Customs procedures and rules of origin; Investment; Standards and technical barriers to trade; Sanitary and phytosanitary measures; Subsidies, antidumping and countervailing duties; Smaller economies; Government procurement; Intellectual property rights; Services; Competition policy; Dispute settlement. These gather and compile information on the current status of trading relations in the Hemisphere.

- Preparatory Committee for FTAA Negotiations - Vice-Ministers of Trade of the Western Hemisphere, who coordinate the efforts of the working groups and make policy recommendations to the Trade Ministers.

Working groups are assisted by the FTAA Tripartite Committee, which consists of Inter-American Development Bank, OAS and UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Experts from these institutions develop compendia and data bases on a variety of trade policy issues. Technical support provided by U-XK2040 - Trade Unit of the Organization of American States (OAS Trade Unit). Government Committee on Civil Society (GCCS) is devising procedures to promote discussions with civil society. Secretariat currently rotates between site of meetings of the negotiating groups; permanent secretariat not yet decided.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality



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