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Toward Free Trade in the Americas

Toward Free Trade in the Americas

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In the past fifteen years, the nations of the Western Hemisphere have experienced nothing less than a revolution in the way they trade with their neighbors. In the mid-1980s and early 1990s, several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean began to liberalize their trade and investment regimes and to implement market-oriented reforms aimed at promoting a more open and dynamic pattern of integration into the world economy. Along with North America, Latin America and the Caribbean have negotiated modern trade agreements that go beyond the elimination of tariffs and nontariff barriers in goods to include provisions on services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement, and dispute settlement. They also have entered into deeper and widerforms of integration at the subregional level. A natural but also unprecedented step along the path toward greater economic interdependence in the hemisphere came about when the leaders of the thirty-four democrat! ically elected governments of the region agreed to start working toward the establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at their First Summit held in Miami in December 1994 and to launch the FTAA negotiations at the Second Summit of the Americas, which took place in Santiago, Chile in April 1998.

This book takes stock of the remarkable progress to date in advancing free trade in the Americas. It examines trade flows within subregional groups and between members of these different arrangements. Contributors describe the maincharacteristics of the trade arrangements signed between countries of the hemisphere and explore the development of trade rules in these arrangements. Finally, the book details recent advances in the construction of the FTAA.