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The FTAA is the name given to a proposal for the expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to all countries of the Americas, except Cuba. Trade ministers have been meeting to discuss the terms of the new agreement and negotiations have been underway since 1994.

The basic premise of these negotiations is for a continuation and expansion of NAFTA. This includes the Chapter 11 dispute-settlement mechanism, the further elimination of barriers to trade, the elimination of barriers to foreign investment, the inclusion of services in the coverage of the agreement and a legal framework to protect investors and their investments, including NAFTAs Chapter 11 dispute-settlement mechanism.

In fact, the service-privatization component of the FTAA agenda is so strong that the Council of Canadians recently concluded that if it were fully realized, all public services at all levels of government would have to be opened up for competition from foreign for-profit service corporations. This makes the proposed FTAA the most threatening and expansive trade agreement in history.

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