Office of the United States Trade Representative


The Free Trade Advantage For Small Business: The Free Trade Area of the Americas
By: Gregory Walters, Director of Small Business Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative 07/10/2003

"It is our shared hemispheric vision that free trade and openness benefits everyone and provides opportunity, prosperity and hope to all our peoples. President Bush has made the FTAA a top
U.S. priority, and today we deliver with bold proposals to lower barriers throughout the region.  The United States has created a detailed roadmap for free trade in the Western Hemisphere - we've put all our tariffs on the table because free trade benefits all and brings us closer together as neighbors."
U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick., February 11, 2003

Scheduled for completion by 2005.  The FTAA, Free Trade Area of the Americas, is a proposed free trade zone stretching from the tip of Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego and includes all 34 countries in the western hemisphere, except Cuba.  The Agreement would touch the lives of 800 million people and generate an estimated $13 trillion in output and $3.4 trillion in trade within the hemisphere.

At preset the countries comprising the FTAA represent 44% of total U.S. exports.  At present, almost ¼ of a million U.S. small businesses presently export to at least one country in this region.  U.S, small businesses generate 50% of all exports to the FTAA region and generate more than $75 billion in exports.

In addition to small businesses that do business with our NAFTA trading partners, Canada and Mexico, an additional 100,000+ U.S. small businesses will benefit immediately from the creation of this free trade zone.  Additionally, FTAA liberalization of merchandise and services trade will increase real U.S. national income between $2.3 billion and $6.3 billion annually.  Of this growth in real income, the largest projected changes will be generated by U.S. business doing business outside of NAFTA.

In the past year, the United States has become co-chair for the FTAA with Brazil and will be hosting the upcoming ministerial in November in Miami. 

During the week of the ministerial, Miami will also be hosting the America’s Business Forum.  A private sector business to business meeting to discuss the trade issues that effect businesses in relationship to the FTAA.  It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the issues that presently affect U.S. small business and to engage businesses from other FTAA countries.  You can get more information from the ABF website at WWW.MIAMIFTAA2003.COM.  I strongly encourage you to view the Miami website and for more information on the FTAA.   

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