Hemispheric Integration and the Politics of Regionalism: The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

68 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2008


This article examines negotiations toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). It seeks to discern what key negotiating parties want out of such an agreement, and the means through which they have sought to achieve their disparate goals.

The United States and Brazil, in particular, have employed complex negotiating strategies in order to gain the upper hand - strategies prompted by a variety of economic and political dynamics at domestic and subregional levels. These dynamics include the significant pressure exerted on U.S. policy-makers by constituent groups sensitive to globalization's impact on labor and the environment, as well as the challenge Brazil faces in maintaining a stable subregional bloc through which to exert greater negotiating leverage in the FTAA process.

Consonant with insights of liberal international relations theorists and multi-level game theorists, it is observed that the FTAA negotiations are significantly constrained by political dynamics at multiple levels of organization, and that these constraints will be major determining factors in the outcome of the process. Ultimately, the article argues that while potential gains from trade in the Western Hemisphere would be of great consequence, the long-term significance of an FTAA would be its precedential value for future trade negotiations at all levels - in domestic, bilateral, regional, and multilateral fora.

Keywords: trade negotiations, international law, FTAA, MERCOSUR, NAFTA, free trade agreements, regionalism, fast track

JEL Classification: F02, F13, F14, F15, K33

Suggested Citation

Bruner, Christopher M., Hemispheric Integration and the Politics of Regionalism: The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1151461

Christopher M. Bruner (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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