Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
  Background and Negotiations
    The initiative to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was announced at the first Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in December 1994. In their Declaration of Principles, Ministers resolved:

"to begin immediately to construct the "Free Trade Area of the Americas" (FTAA), in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. We further resolve to conclude the negotiation of the "Free Trade Area of the Americas" no later than 2005, and agree that concrete progress toward the attainment of this objective will be made by the end of this century. We recognize the progress that already has been realized through the unilateral undertakings of each of our nations and the subregional trade arrangements in our Hemisphere. We will build on existing subregional and bilateral arrangements in order to broaden and deepen hemispheric economic integration and to bring the agreements together "

An overview of the FTAA process explaining events during the preparatory period (1994-1998), and the subsequent FTAA negotiations can be found on the official FTAA Website.

Information related to the FTAA Process
Overview of the FTAA ProcessOffsite link
Source:  FTAA Website

The FTAA negotiations were launched at the second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile in April 1998.  Eight ministerial meetings have been held to date.

Documents related to the Summits of the Americas and FTAA ministerial meetings
05 November 2005 Mar del Plata, Argentina: Fourth Summit of the Americas
  Plan of ActionPDF
13 January 2004 Special Summit of the Americas: Declaration of Nuevo LeónPDF
20 November 2003

Miami, USA:  Eighth ministerial meetingOffsite link

01 November 2002 Quito, Ecuador:  Seventh ministerial meetingOffsite link
22 April 2001 Québec, Canada:  Third Summit of the Americas
  Plan of Action PDF
07 April 2001 Buenos Aires, Argentina: Sixth ministerial meetingOffsite link
04 November 1999 Toronto, Canada: Fifth ministerial meetingOffsite link
19 April 1998 Santiago, Chile:  Second Summit of the Americas
  Plan of Action
19 March 1998 San José, Costa Rica:  Fourth ministerial meetingOffsite link
16 May 1997 Belo Horizonte:  Third ministerial meeting Offsite link
21 March 1996 Cartagena, Colombia: Second ministerial meetingOffsite link
30 June 1995 Denver, USA: First ministerial meetingOffsite link
11 December 1994 Miami, USA: First Summit of the Americas
  Plan of Action
Source:  FTAA Website

A Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) comprised of Vice-Ministers responsible for trade, was established to oversee the work of the negotiating groups and committees and to establish the overall architecture of the Agreement. Nine negotiating groups were established, along with special committees on issues relating to smaller economies, civil society, institutional issues, and electronic commerce. Draft texts of the FTAA negotiations were made public at the sixth, seventh and eighth ministerial meetings.

At the launch of the negotiations, FTAA Ministers committed to making "concrete progress by the year 2000" by agreeing on specific business facilitation measures to be adopted.

Information related to business facilitation measures
FTAA Business Facilitation Measures Offsite link
Source:  FTAA Website

A Hemispheric Cooperation Program (HCP) was approved in November 2002 to assist countries in strengthening their capacity to implement and fully participate in the FTAA.

Information related to the Hemispheric Cooperation Program (HCP)
FTAA Hemispheric Cooperation Program Offsite link
Source:  FTAA Website

In the period during which countries were negotiating the FTAA Agreement, a number of countries made descriptions of their positions public.

Documents relating to country positions
July 2003 Canada concept paper on environmental considerations in the FTAA PDF presented at the 14th FTAA TNC meeting in El Salvador, 07-11 July 2003
17 January 2001 Summary of the United States Negotiating Position in the FTAA
13 December 2000 Canada's Proposal for the FTAA Agreement
Source: International Trade Canada; Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

During the period following the seventh trade ministerial, countries continued their market access negotiations. In February 2003, several countries made their initial FTAA Market Access offers or descriptions of their positions public:

Initial Market Access Offers
Canada Cross-border services and investment
Introduction PDF Annex I PDF Annex II PDF Annex III PDF
  Government Procurement
  General conditions applying to Canada's market access offer PDF
Annex I PDF Annex II PDF Annex III PDF Annex IV PDF Annex V PDF
  Agriculture and Industrial Goods
  Summary of the Initial Canadian OfferOffsite link
Costa Rica Presentación de Ofertas de Costa Rica en el ALCA Spanish PDF
MERCOSUR Lista Inicial de Oferta de Bienes - Introducción Spanish Word
  Lista de Oferta Arancelaria del Mercosur para ALCA Spanish Excel
Argentina and Brazil Initial Offer in Services
Preámbulo Spanish PDF Oferta Spanish Word
United States Highlights of the U.S. Offer PDF
Source: Argentina, Secretaría de Comercio y Relaciones Económicas Internacionales; COMEX, Costa Rica; Brasil, Ministerio das Relações Exteriores, Divisão da Área de Livre Comércio das Américas; International Trade Canada; Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

At the eighth ministerial meeting in Miami in 2003, Ministers recognized the need for flexibility in the negotiations, and agreed that countries would be able to assume different levels of commitment within the FTAA, with one common set of obligations applicable to all countries and the possibility of plurilateral negotiations conducted within the FTAA with a view to defining additional obligations.  The TNC was instructed to develop a balanced and common set of obligations. The TNC met in February 2004, and the Co-Chairs, Brazil and the United States, have subsequently issued five joint communiqués.

Joint Communiqués  of the FTAA Co-Chairs
24 February 2005 Joint Communiqué Offsite link new!
21 May 2004 Joint Communiqué Offsite link
3 May 2004 Joint Communiqué Offsite link
1 April 2004 Joint Communiqué Offsite link
10 March 2004 Joint Communiqué Offsite link
6 February 2004 Joint Communiqué Offsite link
Source:  FTAA Website

The results of the 2003 Miami Ministerial meeting were noted in the Declaration of Nuevo León, which came out of the Special Summit of the Americas held  Mexico in January 2004. The 2005 Mar del Plata declaration reflected two views on the FTAA.  In paragraph 19, one group of countries instructed their officials responsible for trade to resume meetings to advance in the FTAA negotiations;  another group of countries expressed the view that conditions were not yet in place for a free trade agreement to be achieved.

Since the 2003 Miami Ministerial, a number of countries or groups of countries have issued statements on the FTAA process. In March 2004 the Andean Community, Mercosur and Chile issued a joint communiqué reaffirming the principles contained in the Miami Ministerial Declaration regarding the FTAA. In August 2005, Mexico, the country that is hosting the FTAA 's Administrative Secretariat  which is the location of the FTAA meetings,  sent a letter to the TNC Co-Chairs communicating the results of an informal meeting that had been held on 25 August in Puebla, and requesting the TNC Co-Chairs to convoke a vice ministerial meeting to address the future of the FTAA in advance of the Mar del Plata Summit that was to be held in November 2005. In September 2005, Canada posted on its website a letter to the TNC Co-Chairs urging the resumption and conclusion of the FTAA negotiations. The presidents of the United States and Brazil, the countries that serve as the FTAA Co-Chairs, met in November 2005 and issued a joint statement in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the FTAA process, based on the Miami framework. and in June 2006 the United States and Chile reaffirmed their commitment to the FTAA in a joint statement.

Country Communiqués regarding the FTAA
08 June 2006 Joint Statement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Chile PDF new!
05 November 2005 Joint Statement on the Occasion of the Visit by President George W. Bush to Brazil PDF
01 September 2005 Letter from Canada to the FTAA Trade Negotiations (TNC) Co-Chairs PDF
29 August 2005 Letter from Mexico's Sub-Secretary of International Trade Negotiations to the FTAA TNC Co-Chairs Spanish PDF
02 March 2004 Joint Communiqué of Mercosur, Chile and Andean Community Spanish PDF
Source:  Andean Community Secretariat; International Trade Canada, Office of the U.S. President

  Draft Texts
    At their sixth meeting, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2001, FTAA Ministers of Trade made public the first draft FTAA Agreement. A second draft text was made public in November 2002, and a third draft was released to the public in November 2003.
Draft texts of the FTAA Agreement
21 November 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas - Third draft agreement Offsite link
01 November 2002 Free Trade Area of the Americas - Second draft agreement Offsite link
07 April 2001 Free Trade Area of the Americas - Draft agreement Offsite link
Source:  FTAA Website

  Related Articles and Studies
November 2003 Andean Community Secretariat. Análisis del Impacto del ALCA en la Comunidad Andina Offsite link
July 2003 Andean Community Secretariat.  Evaluación de las negociaciones del ALCA en materia de inversiones: Posibles resultados e implicancias en la conformación del mercado común andino Spanish PDF


Spanish version
Recent Developments
  2005-2006: Country statements on the FTAAnew!
   24 February 2005. FTAA Co-Chairs Joint Communiquénew!