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Since 1998, the 34 democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere have been negotiating a Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement to eliminate tariffs and create common trade and investment rules for these nations. The United States will co-chair, with Brazil, the final phase of the negotiations, due to conclude in January 2005. GAO was asked to (1) review challenges that the United States faces as co-chair of the final negotiating phase and (2) discuss risks that the United States may encounter, as host, in Miami, of the November 2003 ministerial meeting.

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