Free Trade Area of the Americas

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Publication.png Free Trade Area of the Americas 
Free Trade Area of the Americas logo.png
The Free Trade Area of the Americas logo, representing the Americas as geometric figures
Typefile of unspecified type
SubjectsFree Trade,  copyright,  patents,  GM Food
Local copyBroken Link: [[{{{local}}}]]
Proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas. The treaty itself never eventuality, but the agenda is still on the table.

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas, excluding Cuba. Negotiations to establish the FTAA ended in failure, however, with all parties unable to reach an agreement by the 2005 deadline they had set for themselves.

The FTAA missed the targeted deadline of 2005, which followed the stalling of useful negotiations of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 2005.[3] Over the next few years, some governments, most notably the United States, not wanting to lose any chance of hemispheric trade expansion moved in the direction of establishing a series of bilateral trade deals. The leaders however, planned further discussions at the 6th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia in 2012, although these discussions did not take place

Support and opposition

For many of the social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean, the FTAA is viewed as a project drawn up by Washington to expand dominion and economic control. It would drive millions into poverty and bankrupt local businesses unable to compete with global corporations.[1]

A strong critic of the FTAA was Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who has described it as an "annexation plan" and a "tool of imperialism" for the exploitation of Latin America.[2] As a counterproposal to this initiative, Chávez promoted the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Alianza Bolivariana para las Américas, ALBA) which emphasizes energy and infrastructure agreements.[2] Evo Morales of Bolivia has referred to the U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas, as "an agreement to legalize the colonization of the Americas".[3]

On the other hand, the then presidents of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Argentina, Néstor Kirchner, have stated that they do not oppose the FTAA but they do demand that the agreement provide for the elimination of U.S. agriculture subsidies, the provision of effective access to foreign markets and further consideration towards the needs and sensibilities of its members.[4]

One of the most contentious issues of the treaty proposed by the United States is with concerns to patents and copyrights. Critics claim that if the measures proposed by the United States were implemented and applied this would reduce scientific research in Latin America. On the Council of Canadians web site, Barlow wrote: "This agreement sets enforceable global rules on patents, copyrights and trademark. It has gone far beyond its initial scope of protecting original inventions or cultural products and now permits the practice of patenting plants and animal forms as well as seeds. It promotes the private rights of corporations over local communities and their genetic heritage and traditional medicines".[5]

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