THE FREE-TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICASBUS302Dr. Miguel CoronaTHE FREE-TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICASThe Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is a trade agreement currently under negotiation that would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to include 31 additional nations in the Western Hemisphere. The effort to bind the economies of the Western Hemisphere into a single free trade agreement began at the Summit of the Americas, in December of 1994 in Miami, Florida, CITATION Joh14 \l 1033 (Wild & Wild, 2014). It was at the Summit that heads of state and governments of 34 countries in the region- all nations in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean except Cuba- agreed to complete negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005. The stated reason for pushing the free trade area would eliminate impediments to market access for goods and services among the countries will foster economic growth. A growing world economy will also enhance domestic prosperity. Free trade and increased economic integration are key factors for raising standards of living, improving the working conditions of people in the Americas and better protecting the environment. The protesters criticized the FTAA for two major faults. First, the FTAA failed to include environmental and labor standards, thus making it difficult for the U.S. to export to countries of low wages and lax environmental enforcement. The FTAA would benefit multinational corporations at the expense of the general public, the environment, and the working poor. Second, the agreement would cost the U.S. millions of manufacturing jobs. That is probably true. Because of lower environmental standards and cheaper labor costs, multinational corporations likely would relocate their factories and move manufacturing jobs offshore. Third, Companies are able to discourage unionizing by threatening to close operations and move factories elsewhere where wages are lower and regulations are broken. The...
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