EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was a proposed agreement in order to eliminate or reduce existing trade barriers among countries in the Americas with the exception of Cuba. In November 2003 trade ministers from thirty four countries meet in Miami Florida to discuss varying issues and the future of the FTAA itself. The Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA) is an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that currently exists between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Negotiations about establishing a free trade area for the Americas began with the Summit of the Americas in Miami Florida on December 11, 1994 the same year that NAFTA was established. The last summit meeting pertaining to an official establishment of FTAA was held at Mar del Plata in the nation of Argentina in November 2005, but no official agreement on the Free Trade Area of the Americas was reached upon at that time. Of the thirty four countries which were present at the negotiations twenty six of them agreed to meet once again in order to resume further negotiations, but to this day no specific meeting has materialized.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement that is currently in accord by the governments of Mexico, Canada, and the United States thus creating a trilateral trading partnership on the North American continent. This agreement commenced on January 1, 1994 and replaced the Canada, and United States free trade agreement to become as of 2010 the largest trade bloc on the globe.

The North American Free Trade Agreement at present has two parts, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the

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North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). While implementing diplomatic negotiations which date back to 1986 among the three different countries, each countries representative met in San Antonia Texas, on December 17, 1992 in order to sign and ratify the NAFTA agreement. American president George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salina, each individual being responsible for leading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed the documents.

The basic goal of NAFTA is to eliminate barriers to trade and to promote investments between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The beginning of NAFTA in 1994 brought a quick suspension to tariffs on more than a half of Mexico’s exports to the United States, and more than one third of American exports to Mexico. Within ten years of implementing NAFTA all tariffs that existed between the United States and Mexico would be done away with the exception of some American agricultural exports to Mexico that were to be phased out within fifteen years. The North American Free Trade Agreement also hopes to do away with non-tariff trade barriers and also to provide protection for property rights.