bilateralism & multilateralism
Far from being a stepping stone to freer trade, the NAFTA and other regional and bilateral trade deals have created a conflicting web of preferential arrangements that may be impeding rather than spurring trade, the authors of a report commissioned by the World Trade Organization have concluded.
Trade Minister Mark Vaile today defended Australia’s free trade deals with foreign countries after a new World Trade Organisation (WTO) report said such agreements could be discriminatory.
The World Trade Organisation is being undermined by the intransigence and short-sightedness of its member countries, according to the report of a high-level commission released on Monday.
Now that Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is moving to the State Department as Condoleezza Rice’s deputy, U.S. trade policy may see a shift from small bilateral pacts back to big, sweeping multilateral trade agreements.
The main aims of the week are to challenge the free trade myth, put forward our alternatives, strengthen the already existing trade campaigns and show the strength of the global movement, campaigning in solidarity.
Unilateralism, in which the largest economies, notably the United States, impose their will on smaller ones, is the main driver for the proliferation of bilateral trade agreements and represents a growing risk for the global economy, according to Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel laureate for economics.
This paper evaluates a possible US-SACU (Southern African Customs Union) free trade agreement as part of a US approach to new preferential trade agreements characterized by the term ’competitive liberalization.’
The government on Tuesday approved a basic plan to promote free-trade agreements, prioritizing accords with Asian trading partners to help build an East Asian community. It also adopted a set of 12 criteria to choose potential FTA partners, envisioning future negotiations with trading partners outside East Asia.
This report looks at major Customs Unions, Free Trade Areas, and economic
association agreements around the world, with particular attention to any clauses
covering social issues, core labour standards and trade union participation.
Two political tremors in recent days reveal that the global trading system may be creaking and groaning into isolated blocs of countries - without the United States.
The recently signed India-Thailand FTA has stirred a hornet’s nest in India. It is being argued that India has shown unnecessary haste in signing the agreement without fully comprehending its economic implications for Indian industry.
In a major policy shift, the government has decided to convert all preferential/free trade agreements (PFA/FTA) into comprehensive economic cooperation agreements (Ceca).
Proponents and opponents of free-trade agreements stood firm Tuesday on their respective positions, while a government adviser warned against completing negotiations in haste.
In excluding agriculture from FTA negotiations, the South Korean government is setting itself up for even greater domestic backlash when multilateral negotiations pry open a sector insulated from any form of competition.
If proof were needed that an Asian free-trade "arms race" has begun in earnest, then the 10th ASEAN summit in Vientiane on November 29th-30th provided it in abundance. The highlight of the summit was the signing of an FTA between China and ASEAN, but equally striking was the number of other trade pacts that were, variously, agreed, worked on or proposed during the meeting in the Lao capital.
India made it clear on Monday that it would aggressively push for more regional trade agreements, though it attached importance to the multilateral trading system.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile last weekend, leaders discussed economic issues, especially trade. Singapore and Peru, for example, agreed to initiate talks for a free trade agreement.
Asia-Pacific leaders have ducked a call from business advisors to study an ambitious FTA among APEC members.
This report addresses two questions: What are the characteristics of agreements that strongly promote-or
hinder-development for member countries? Does the proliferation of agreements
pose risks to the multilateral trading
system, and how can those risks be
Access to genetic resources in South America’s Andean region, which holds a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity, is a point of discord in the free trade agreement that the United States has been negotiating with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru since May.