The Challenges of Regionalism: Unbalanced Integration in the Americas



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).


European Union Free Trade Latin American Country Free Trade Agreement Free Trade Area 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

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