Americas Free Trade: Nasty and Brutish

Jobs and prosperity are at stake as a series of trade talks – some a decade in the making – gather momentum. But the world has changed from the benign internationalism when President George Bush senior dreamed of free trade from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Now deals are done bilaterally in a nasty and brutish environment.

The World Today Updated 16 October 2020 Published 1 January 2004 3 minute READ

Paulo Wrobel

A crowded agenda of bilateral, regional and global trade talks is planned for the year ahead. At the global level, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is working hard to restart meaningful negotiations after the Doha round, launched in 2001, virtually stalled with the fiascos of the Seattle and Cancún summits. Mired in a growing number of disputes, the multilateral trade system is seeking a common agenda to leave behind the disagreements between developed and developing nations, so detrimental to trade expansion and wealth creation.

In parallel to global trade talks, many regions are aiming for free trade agreements this year. None is busier than the Americas where, according to the original timetable, 34 nations – all except Cuba – are negotiating a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the largest trade bloc in the world.

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