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The Challenges of Regionalism: Unbalanced Integration in the Americas

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Abstract

The heyday of the discussions on a hemispheric free trade area embracing all of the Americas now seems to be behind us. The excitement created by the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative in 1990 ran high through to the Miami Summit in December 1994; since the Summit, very little actual progress has been achieved towards such a free trade regime, despite sporadic declarations to keep the idea alive. Both Latin America and the United States seem to have entered an era of realpolitik in their economic relations. The vision of a free trade area from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego still survives and has support, but the terms of the discussion have shifted from emotional sentiments stressing the geographic and historical unity of the Americas (imagined or true) to a greater acknowledgement of more global currents and circumstances, be it the emergence of Asia—Pacific cooperation or the triadic economic world order (US—EU—Japan). Present trends towards regionalization will by no means automatically lead to a single free trade area of the Americas (FTAA).

Keywords

European Union Free Trade Latin American Country Free Trade Agreement Free Trade Area 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    Another thing is that there is relatively little room left for manoeuvre for the governments to seek alternative policies, as most countries are deeply committed to neoliberal policies under the tutelage of the IMF, World Bank and WTO. Furthermore, countries with binding free trade agreements, Mexico in particular, have subjected themselves to the lock-in effects of these ‘conditioning frameworks’, as coined by Ricardo Grinspun and Robert Kreklewich (‘Consolidating Neoliberal Reforms: Free Trade as a Conditioning Framework’, Studies in Political Economy, no. 43, Spring 1994, pp. 33–61).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See, for example, Daniel Drache, ‘Assessing the Benefits of Free Trade’, in Ricardo Grinspun and Maxwell A. Cameron, The Political Economy of North American Free Trade, New York: St Martin’s Press, 1994, pp. 73–87.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Peter Morici, ‘An Architecture for Free Trade in the Americas’, Current History, vol. 95, no. 598, February 1996, pp. 59–64.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Alfredo Guerra-Borges, ‘Globalization de la regionalización en América Latina: un punto de vista alternativo’, Comercio Exterior, vol. 46(7), June 1996, pp. 436–42 (p. 437).Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    Simón Teitel, ‘Qué estrategia de desarrollo debe adoptar América Latina?’, Comercio Exterior, vol. 45(9), September 1995, pp. 681–94 (p. 691).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Francoise Simon and Susan Kaufman Purcell, ‘The Impact of Regional Integration on European—Latin American Relations’, in Susan Kaufman Purcell and Francoise Simon (eds), Europe and Latin America in the World Economy, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers 1995, pp. 39–84 (p. 50).Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    Mario Pastore, ‘Democracy, Defense, Integration, and Development: A Long Run View of Latin America’, LASA Forum, vol. XXVII(3), Fall 1996, pp. 4–7.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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