The Free Trade Area of the Americas & The Brazil-U.S. Trade Agenda in the U.S. Congress


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Renard P. Aron

Founder, Shear Communications

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Roxana Chahin Jordan

Principal and Managing Partner, Access Strategies

The objective of this study is to provide an assessment of the views in the U.S. Congress about the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and how the Brazil-U.S. trade agenda fits into the FTAA discussions within the U.S. Congress.

The study is divided into two parts. Part I provides an overview of the current level of understanding within the U.S. Congress about the FTAA and the key issues that may drive the discussions. Part II tries to quantify the political and economic strength of seven sectors of the U.S. economy that are protected by tariff and non-tariff barriers to Brazilian exports. These are: steel, footwear, orange juice concentrate, tobacco, sugar, corn (ethanol), and poultry.

Unlike Brazil, in the United States, the Congress plays an active role in the development of trade policy. The U.S. Congress has constitutional authority over formulating international economic policy and regulating international trade. Within the House of Representatives, jurisdiction over trade legislation lies in the Committee on Ways and Means. Within the Senate, the jurisdiction over trade legislation lies in the Finance Committee.

Two sets of interviews were developed for Part I of the study: random phone interviews with 30 Congressional Representatives’ offices and in-depth interviews with members of 6 selected committees and sub-committees (trade, international relations, and agriculture).

Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais