Western Hemisphere: Integration still on the Agenda

 Global Governance  Comments Off on Western Hemisphere: Integration still on the Agenda
Jan 242009
 

George Bush met with leaders of eleven nations of the Western Hemisphere in New York on September 24, 2008 in order to launch the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas George Bush launched the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas, an integrated trading region of the Western Hemisphere.(PPA). This included Canada and Mexico, the two members, along with the United States, that form the North American Free Trade Agreement  (NAFTA) and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), an integrated trading region of the continent. This corporate state will be run by trade agreements, permanent institutions and bureaucracies, initially.

The PPA is one of a series of hemispheric initiatives, agreements and organizations over the years, all working for a regional government of the Western Hemisphere. The PPA is Bush’s legacy to Obama. It’s on his agenda now.  Is he in accord with that?

The ministers (same game plan as the SPP) of the PPA initiative met in Panama on December 10, 2008 to rejuvenate the process of economic integration of the hemisphere. Condoleezza Rice led the U.S. delegation. This initiative “can lead to a broader America-Asia free trade area, which reaches from the Western Hemisphere across the Pacific to the economies of Asia…”

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Sullivan said at a December 8th briefing before the  Panama meeting that ‘the meeting will strengthen economic and integration initiatives , and promote the convergence of free trade efforts.” [1] The U.S. Department of State has blocked this website’s access to their documents. See end of article for the long address.

Sullivan and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Affairs  Thomas Shannon “had been in discussions with the transition team of President-elect Barack Obama about the Pathways initiative and its importance to Western Hemisphere economic affairs.”

The Obama team will also attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas: Trinidad and Tobago, 2009. These summits have been meeting since 1994. An interesting explanation of the Summit’s goals reveals what the future holds for sovereign nations in this hemisphere:

“The framework of the Summit of the Americas (34 nations of the Western Hemisphere)  assists the leaders of the inter-American system in building modern nations to compete in a global economy while satisfying the needs and demands of the citizens.

“The Summit process is a reflection of the importance given to regional governance and the need to find collective answers to the problems and challenges facing the hemisphere.”

In a Review of the Summit Process:

“The Summit of the Americas brings together the Heads of State and government of the Western Hemisphere to discuss common concerns, seek solutions and develop a shared vision for their future development of the region, be it economic, social or political in nature.

“The process is guided by shared political principles and established mechanisms (institutions). The political principles of the process dictate that the process shall include the 34 democratic nations of the Americas, who operate with free market economies, conduct multilateral international negotiations and who reach decisions by consensus. The institutional mechanisms are the bodies in charge of leading the process, decision-making, implementation and follow-up.”

Another organization, “the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) is A trading region of the Western Hemisphere will exercise sovereingty over 34 member nations. (Logo-FTAA) Free Trade Area of the Americas.an independent network made up of the national legislatures of those governments who are members of the Organization of American States (OAS). FIPA members are committed to promoting parliamentary participation in the inter-American system and to developing inter-parliamentary dialogue on issues of importance to the hemisphere. FIPA …works to strengthen the role of legislatures in democratic development and to promote harmonization of legislation and hemispheric integration as instruments of sustainable and harmonious development in the region.”

“At the yearly FIPA Plenary Meetings parliamentarians of the Americas discuss themes of importance in the hemisphere, such as…the role of legislators in enhancing hemispheric security and the challenges and opportunities of hemispheric integration and economic development.”

Yes, U.S. Congressmen are members of FIPA. Members of Congress also participate in inter-parliamentary meetings with their counterparts in Canada and Mexico on NAFTA. And members of Congress have been meeting with members of  the European Parliament for ten years in order to bring about harmonization and integration with the EU.  See this blog, archives, July 22, 2008, A Single Political Framework for U.S.-European Union by 2015? Click here to see the list of U.S. congressmen and women who are part of this “joint” legislature.

To get an idea of the topics of interest for these hemispheric groups, see the following  guide from a past meeting  of the Parliamentary Summit for Hemispheric Integration. A number of regional organizations attended, including the Andean Community of Nations, Mercosur and FIPA ( representing legislatures of 34 members of the Organization of American States):

Specific goals:

b. Examine the process of formulation of integration treaties;

c. Examine the level of participation of national legislatures in the formulation and implementation of integration experiences.

Suggested Topics:

1. Globalization and the establishment of regional trading blocs as vehicles of integration: EU, NAFTA, APEC

2. The role of the World Trade Organization and regional trading blocs (MERCOSUR, Andean Community, Caricom, and NAFTA) in the process of hemispheric integration.

Obama has promised to change NAFTA and other trade agreements to “spread good labor and environmental standards around the world…” He also said he would make the SPP summit meetings transparent. But he is not against trade agreements. For his policy speech on the Americas, see: A New Partnership for the Americas. Stay tuned.

1- http://www.america.gov/st/econ-english/2008/December/ 20081208170052dmslah rellek0.9456293.html?CP.rss=true