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bilateralism & multilateralism

Asia-Pacific trade ministers defend bilateral deals
Two trade ministers from Asia-Pacific nations — Singapore and Australia — on Saturday defended bilateral and regional trade agreements as potentially contributing to, not detracting from, the global trade regime.
Australian trade minister argues in favor of free trade agreements in lieu of WTO deal
Countries will continue to negotiate their own free trade agreements in the absence of a WTO deal, but those bilateral arrangements could actually help the chances for a global trade pact, Australia’s trade minister said Saturday.
Intellectual property, bilateral agreements and sustainable development: A strategy note
This paper addresses the main threats of the intellectual property chapters in the bilateral and regional agreements with the US for access to medicines, give an overview of the reactions from different sectors to these agreements, and outline some strategic considerations for future action.
US trade pacts at risk over business-labor clash
Bush administration efforts to reach a deal with the US Congress on trade were thrown into doubt on Thursday as US business and labor groups clashed over the core issue in the talks.
Weaving webs of influence: The United States, free trade agreements and dispute resolution
Peter Drahos looks at the issue of dispute settlement in the gowing web of US bilateral free trade agreements, how this relates to the WTO’s dispute settlement system and the implications for developing countries.
US trade pact with Seoul: What next?
The free trade agreement the United States signed with South Korea last week could be the most important step in the nation’s trade policy since the North American Free Trade Agreement. It could symbolize a shift away from global trade negotiations, which were supposed to help poor countries grow, to the bilateral option, the only game in town right now.
Rangel and Levin unveil new trade policy for America
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI), today unveiled “A New Trade Policy for America,” to improve pending free trade agreements and allow for bipartisan support in the House.
UNCTAD meeting warns of effects of bilateral, regional FTAs
An expert meeting was held in Geneva last week on the interface between the multilateral trading system and regional trade arrangements, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
UNICE strategy on an EU approach to free trade agreements
Past EU bilateral and regional agreements have been strongly influenced by political concerns. The new generation of FTAs must be based on economic criteria: where the EU’s current and future markets lie.
SK-US free trade deal may open 10 out of 18 types of rice products
Contrary to its long-standing assertion that rice will be excluded from a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US, South Korea’s government is reviewing measures to open some less sensitive rice products.
Deadlock of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) in Ouagadougou
EPA negotiators from West Africa and the European Union meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from the 23 -26 January, failed to reach agreement on key issues regarding the results of the mid-term review of the EPA negotiations and the way forward.
Kamal Nath defends India’s bilateral trade agreements
Commerce and Industries Minister Kamal Nath staunchly defended India’s ongoing negotiations towards bilateral trade agreements with a number of countries in Asia and Europe on Wednesday, saying they were perfectly compatible with the norms mandated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Europe (re)joins the FTA bandwagon
A view on the similarities and differences between the US and the EU’s FTA strategies.
MEPs press for a Transatlantic Market by 2015
Influential MEP group urges greater economic and regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US by removing transatlantic barriers to trade and investment.
Happily ever AAFTA
This year President Bush and the Democratic-led Congress should launch a new Association of American Free Trade Agreements (AAFTA), writes Robert Zoellick in the Wall Street Journal.
Six countries could lose US trade benefits: USTR
Six countries — including Brazil, India and Venezuela — could lose duty-free access to the US market for some of their key exports under a revamped U.S. trade program signed into law on Wednesday by President George W Bush, US trade officials said.
EU welcomes signing of new Central European Free Trade Agreement
Prime Ministers of South Eastern European countries and territories have today signed a new Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).
US advises developing country FTA partners not to follow WHO IP plan
Developing countries that have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States received an email in the form of a “démarche” from the US government before the 4-8 December 2006 meeting of the WHO Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights saying that it had become apparent that the WHO was trying to go beyond its competency and address issues which could have impact on the scope and effect of FTAs.
EC to negotiate Association Agreements with Andean Community and Central America
The EU Commission notified its intention to begin negotiations for Association Agreements in the first quarter of 2007, which would gradually become free trade agreements with the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) and Central American countries (Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala). However, this process could be broken because of the new demands on part of Ecuador before the WTO.
Mercosur/EU talks depend on the Doha Round
As long as the Doha Round is pending, “significant advances” in negotiations with Mercosur for a free trade agreement will not be forthcoming anticipated on Friday the European Union External Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson.