n Latin American Report - The free trade area of the Americas and Mercosur-European Union free trade processes : can they learn something from each other? : research article




The FTAA process itself has already generated important positive externalities for the hemisphere and the multilateral system. It has provided a regular forum for the 34 countries' trade delegations. FTAA meetings have been a learning laboratory for many delegations regarding the complex Uruguay Round obligations and other areas not yet contained therein (e.g., Competition Policy and mechanisms for communication with Civil Society). The Preparatory Stage also generated many comparative databases and inventories on trade-related issues among the 34, increasing intergovernmental transparency in trade relations. Moreover, thanks to the release of most of this information to the public, this transparency has been transmitted to private markets as well. Independently of whether an FTAA is actually realized in 2005, it has steady marched forward to date. The success raises the question about whether there are lessons for other ambitious transcontinental, or interregional, trade initiatives. More specifically, are there lessons for the just initiated MEU approach for the FTAA process? The purpose of this paper is to preliminarily address these questions.


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