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Sometimes dubbed “NAFTA on steroids“, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was an attempt to expand NAFTA to 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere (it excluded Cuba).

From Canada to Argentina, the FTAA was strongly opposed by social movements, trade unions, NGOs and communities mobilizing against the neoliberal policies it promoted.
Governments including Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela were increasingly critical of the US agenda at the FTAA negotiations.

Finally, at the Third Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata (Argentina) in early November 2005, the FTAA was left for dead after the United States failed to overcome the staunch opposition of Venezuela and the Mercosur countries.

Since then, the FTAA agenda has remained stalled, although there was a tentative attempt in September 2008 to relaunch the initiative, retitled “Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas,” with the support of several Latin American governments.

The defeat of the FTAA was one impetus for the United States to step up its push for a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and other far-reaching bilateral free trade and investment treaties with countries of the region.

last update: May 2012

Photo: CC BY 2.0

Lessons from the struggle against the FTAA: continental unity to fight free trade
Grassroots movements from the Americas have accumulated experiences and a history of struggles for sovereignty and integration.
Twenty years ago helped kill a free trade deal for the Americas
20,000 civil society activists, trade unionists and environmentalists from throughout the Americas descended on Quebec City, where an alternative peoples’ summit was held.
Corporate power doesn’t always win: remembering the FTAA
A decade ago, a transnational coalition beat back the largest corporate trade deal in history. Here’s what they can teach opponents of the TPP.
Access: Fighting free trade agreements
Fatima Mello of the Brazil Network for the Integration of Peoples worked with other civil society groups across South America in order to bring down the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. Here she discusses the campaign and lessons learned:
Amnesty International wins round in speech lawsuit
Amnesty International has won a round in a lawsuit claiming Miami police breached the organization’s constitutional rights during the Free Trade of the Americas meeting in November 2003.
Social Movements Crushed ALCA
The social movements stopped and crushed the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA), said the president of the World Economics Study Center Osvaldo Martinez.
Cuba warns of FTAA mutations
The change in name of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) into Free Trade Agreements (FTA) was rejected by Cuban economist, Osvaldo Martinez.
FTAA unlikely to become reality soon, Mexico says
Mexican Economy Secretary Eduardo Sojo said the U.S.-led Free Trade Area of the Americas scheme is likely to remain stalled in the foreseeable future as negotiations between the United States and the leftist-dominated South America on the issue have been deadlocked for the past few years.
Rethinking FTAA
Trinidad and Tobago should rethink its position on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and instead examine Latin American proposals on the formation of a Latin American-Caribbean trade grouping. Government, it seems, continues to believe that we can still be selected as the headquarters of the FTAA.
Brazil likely to make bilateral agreements with the US rather than working with the FTAA
The Brazilian Foreign Relations Minister, Celso Amorin, argued that Mercosur would prefer to negotiate bilaterally with the US than to try to save the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.