logo logo


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

Mercosur official says "FTAA is dead"
A top Argentine trade official was quoted in Bs. Aires Tuesday as saying the Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, a hemispheric commerce initiative pushed by the Bush administration, "is dead."
US trade sanctions seek to pressure Latin America
The US government’s announcement that it will review the possibility of limiting, suspending, or withdrawing trade preferences under the General System of Preferences (GSP) to three Latin American countries—Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela—is political pressure to make these nations participate in the model of regional integration proposed by the United States.
Bolivia moves to support Latin American integration
The Bolivian representative to an anti-“free trade” conference underway in Havana, proposed a “People’s Trade Agreement” - a joint initiative between the government and social movements in that South American country.
Free trade between US and neighbors is alive and well
Critics of a free trade agreement in the Americas point to what they perceive are missed deadlines and lost opportunities as proof that a hemisphere-wide pact is dead and gone.
FTAA off? - Regional heads explore option to US-proposed Free Trade Area
Caribbean leaders are reconsidering the region’s strategic alliances, including a possible free trade agreement with Venezuela as an alternative to the stalled Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations.
New Bolivia leader vows to nationalize natural gas but says he’s open to free-trade zone
Bolivian President Evo Morales used his inaugural address Sunday to renew his pledge to nationalize the country’s vast natural gas reserves, but said he’s open to the idea of a large US-sponsored trade zone he harshly criticized last year during his campaign.
Peru endorsed Miami as site of free trade pact secretariat
President Alejandro Toledo endorsed Miami as the headquarters for a proposed free trade secretariat as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush completed a two-day trade visit to Ecuador and Peru.
Timely demise for Free Trade Area of the Americas
When the Bush cabinet announced intentions to revive the moribund Free Trade Area of the Americas at the Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, the countries of the Southern Common Market closed ranks to prevent it. What followed was a diplomatic melee that reflects not so much divisions within Latin America, as a growing resistance to the current free trade model throughout the developing world.
Is an ’FTAA Lite’ a real possibility?
Most of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean want a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), even in a less ambitious form, as opposed to a handful of nations - albeit an economically powerful minority - that reject the idea.
Trade accord stalled as Americas meeting ends
A two-day summit meeting of leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations attended by President Bush was drawing to a close here on Saturday without a clear agreement on when and how to resume stalled talks aimed at achieving a hemispherewide free trade agreement.