From Miami to Cartagena: Nine Lessons and Nine Challenges of the Ftaa
Working Paper Series 211 IDB, Integration and Regional Programs Department
Posted: 14 Aug 1997
Date Written: July 1996
This paper analyses the challenges and preliminary achievements of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process from the Miami Summit of the Americas in December 1994 to the Cartagena Trade Ministerial in March 1996. A short description of the process itself - the Summit Action Plan, the establishment of the eleven FTAA working groups and their preliminary findings, as well as the decisions taken at the two trade ministerials in Denver and Cartagena - concludes that the process has been basically on track. This section of the paper is followed by a detailed analysis of the lessons that have thus far emerged from the process: the role of political vision and leadership at the highest political level in order to move the process forward; the need for consensus on broad objectives, backed by an ambitious, but realistic plan of action with detailed terms of reference and benchmarks; the fact that, in the initial preparatory stage, progress could be achieved with minimal institutional commitments due to ad hoc technical support from multilateral and subregional organizations; and that deepening of subregional integration can be a building block for the FTAA. The paper then moves on to list a number of key challenges that the FTAA process will confront in the near future: defining the scope and depth of the free trade area, as well as the sequencing and schedule of trade liberalization (and that of the latter with other structural reforms); addressing the question of possible special status for less developed countries; designing the institutional framework for negotiations; and laying the groundwork for public acceptance through the dissemination of adequate information on the benefits and costs of the FTAA.
JEL Classification: F42, N76
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation