Not yet. That seems to be the betting as ministers from 34 democracies of the Western Hemisphere head to Miami on Nov. 20 for key talks on establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas. To avoid a breakdown like the one that occurred at September's World Trade Organization talks in Cancún, trade ministers are likely to pull back from such hot issues as U.S. farm subsidies and quotas and Brazil's copyright piracy. Instead, negotiations will focus on reducing tariffs in all countries and easing customs procedures.
That may make it easier to meet a January, 2005, deadline for reaching agreement, but such a pact would be far less ambitious than envisioned just a few years ago. Already, some observers are talking about "FTAA Lite."
Edited by Rose Brady