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bilateralism & multilateralism


Thailand must stand firm in trade deal talks
The investment chapter under the proposed TPP and the Thailand-EU FTA, if adopted, might place Thailand’s substantive ability to protect public interests at risk, warns Jakkrit Kuanpoth.
India to seek US support to protect herbal knowledge
India will seek the United States’ support for an international treaty to protect its traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs from being patented by other nations at a bilateral trade meeting this week.
US-India food deal and the WTO
India and the US have reached a bilateral deal to resolve their differences over food stock holdings at the World Trade Organization. Analysis from Kavaljit Singh.
EU to exempt JR companies from world trade rules
The European Union has agreed to omit three of Japan’s biggest rail companies from a trade agreement at the WTO in the hope that it will open up the Japanese market to European suppliers under a possible bilateral FTA.
Indonesia challenges Australian cigarette packaging laws
Tobacco producers Indonesia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ukraine are challenging Australia’s plain-packaging laws at the World Trade Organization, bolstering support for Philip Morris’ private dispute against Canberra.
The corporate free trade project reloaded
Twenty years after NAFTA, the US and EU are making a renewed push for global free trade. But today the South is better able to resist such a project.
TTIP - Debate: European goals and fears
"Multilateral negotiations on the WTO level should be the norm, but at the moment this TTIP will actually set world standards and the rest has to follow," says Olaf Böhnke of the European Council on Foreign Affairs
War of the FTAs
As an exhausted World Trade Organisation struggles, expect a war of FTAs as rich countries hit back with new trade regimes under TPP and TTIP while emerging markets build the RCEP
Why developing host countries sign increasingly strict investment agreements
Despite the failure of the OECD’s MAI negotiations and the lack of agreement to put investment on the WTO’s negotiating agenda, the major source countries of FDI will eventually get close to their objective of a comprehensive web of investment agreements with increasingly stricter investment provisions with those developing countries that compete with each other as hosts of their FDI.
EU okays exemption of Japanese railway firms from procurement accord
The European Union has agreed to accept a request for exempting three Japanese railway operators from obligations under a global government procurement pact, Japan’s Jiji Press news agency reports.
Yes to a sustainable trade policy – no to the TTIP
This short publication highlights some of the potential risks that the EU-US free trade agreement represents to the developing and emerging countries.
Imperialism and the new free trade deals
Far from being a means to open up the world to a further intensification of trade, TPP and TTIP will carve up the world into two or more power blocs waging economic war with one another.
TPP would ’upgrade’ US trade pacts, says US Commerce chief
The TPP is designed "to create a high-standard global trade agreement that addresses a bunch of issues that have not been addressed before in our trade agreements," US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, adding, "And frankly, if we don’t do it, someone else is going to set the standard."
Patents against people: How drug companies price patients out of survival
The struggle for access to medicine presents a legal and ethical minefield for rich and poor countries alike—one that is being fought out as humanitarians challenge corporations over intellectual property rights.
Complex trade pacts promote land grabs
Multiplicity of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) leave room for some investors to take advantage of African resources, it has been asserted at a CUTS meeting in Geneva last week
Investment agreements: A new threat to health and TRIPS flexibilities?
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) may be a threat to access to medicines as shown by a recent legal suit by a drug multinational against Canada for invalidating a patent, writes Carlos Correa
The rise of regionalism in international investment policymaking: consolidation or complexity?
A recent UNCTAD analysis of nine selected regional negotiations has found that, were these to lead to agreements, they could replace close to 10 per cent of today’s bilateral investment treaties (BITs).
Regional consolidation, cross-regional tie-ups, or multilateralization of East Asian FTAs?
So far, research on the impacts of free trade agreements in east Asia assume the full utilisation of preferences. This column argues that newer evidence suggests that this assumption is made in error: estimated uptake is particularly low in east Asia. If we assume a more realistic utilisation rate in estimating impacts, results suggest that actual utilisation rates significantly diminish the benefits from preferential liberalisation, but in a non-linear way. In the absence of Doha, the multilateralisation of preferences, even without reciprocity, is the practical route that is most likely to deliver the greatest benefits to WTO members.
L’OMC a-t-elle encore un avenir ?
Roberto Azedevo vient d’être choisi pour diriger l’institution à l’heure où les accords bilatéraux ont le vent en poupe. Ce type de contrats va pourtant à l’encontre du principe même de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC). L’institution internationale doit-elle se sentir menacée?
Bilateral agreements easy to negotiate’
Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) could be successful if bilateral agreements between the member countries complement them.