Council of the Americas
Council of the Americas is an American business organization whose goal is promoting free trade, democracy and open markets throughout the Americas. This includes Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as South America. Its members share a common commitment to economic and social development, open markets, the rule of law, and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. The Council's membership consists of leading international companies representing a broad spectrum of sectors, including banking and finance, consulting services, consumer products, energy and mining, manufacturing, media, technology, and transportation.
The group was founded in 1965 by David Rockefeller and a group of like-minded business people, based on the fundamental belief that free markets and private enterprise offer the most effective means to achieve regional economic growth and prosperity. Since that time, membership has grown to over 200 blue chip companies that represent the majority to the U.S. private investment in Latin America.
The Council Today
The Council regularly hosts presidents, cabinet ministers, central bankers, government officials, and leading experts from across the Americas in economics, politics, business, and finance. This practice affords it unique access to information and insights into the evolution of the entire region.
The Council of the Americas argues that free markets and private enterprise offer the most effective means to achieve regional economic growth and prosperity. It has been an ardent supporter of free trade agreements and has been instrumental in the conception of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), both of which have been heavily promoted by David Rockefeller.
The Council has also campaigned for Trade Promotion Authority, usually referred to as "fast track", which gives the president of the US authority to negotiate trade agreements that cannot be amended by Congress, and are voted on as only 'yes' or 'no'. In effect from 1975 to 1994 – during which time it resulted in NAFTA – it was restored in 2002 by the US Trade Promotion Authority Act.
Mack McLarty, chief of staff for Bill Clinton, was a crucial liaison of the Council to the Clinton administration. He also served as Clinton's "special envoy to the Americas," in which capacity he was a key mover and shaker in the creation of NAFTA and the yet to be implemented Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which originated from David Rockefeller. McLarty was a top official at the 1994 Miami Summit of the Americas which laid the groundwork for this Trade bloc.
- Memoirs, David Rockefeller, New York: Random House, 2002.
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