Bilateral free trade and investment agreements and the US corporate biotech agenda

Pesticides Action Network Asia Pacific and People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty

Bilateral Free Trade and Investment Agreements and the US Corporate Biotech Agenda

by Aziz Choudry

February 2006

Bilateral free trade agreements are seen by the agricultural biotechnology industry as an
important conduit for spreading genetically modified organisms (GMOs) around the world.
US agribusiness corporations are looking into bilateral and regional trade agreements “to
expand foreign understanding and acceptance of US regulations and standards, particularly
with respect to agricultural biotechnology.” Meanwhile, the US Administration sees these
agreements as useful political instruments to further its broader geopolitical interests.

These bilateral trade negotiations are much less visible and can easily slip beneath the
radar of NGOs and popular movements that oppose the WTO. The business coalitions that
are the biggest driving force behind bilateral free trade and investment negotiations are
quite open about their self-interest, and eager to keep upping the stakes and locking
governments into even tougher standards to ensure expanded profit margins and monopoly
control. Through bilateral agreements, they seek to stitch up from below what they have
been unable to achieve — so far — at the WTO.

This Special Release on “Bilateral Free Trade and Investment Agreements and the US Corporate Biotech Agenda” is researched and written by Aziz Choudry, a New Zealand activist
who has been following the negotiations of bilateral free trade and investment agreements between the US and the countries in the South.

This issue is first of a series of Special Release published by the People’s Coalition on Food
Sovereignty (PCFS) and the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP). This publication
aims to provide critical analyses and raise awareness on Food Sovereignty issues.

Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific
http://www.panap.net

People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty
http://www.foodsov.org

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