bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

Corporate interests

Behind every free trade and investment agreement lies a set of corporate interests. Just as they have greatly influenced the shape, scope and contents of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, so too are transnational corporations (TNCs), sectoral industry coalitions and lobby groups mobilizing around specific bilateral trade and investment negotiations, to push even further than they were able to get at the WTO.

“Bilateral and regional FTAs …are formalized manifestations of where our respective private sectors have taken us…it is really business and government moving in tandem,” explained Susan Schwab, former US Trade Representative in 2006.

TNCs, whether acting individually or as part of industry coalitions such as the US Council on International Business (USCIB), the Emergency Committee for International Trade, the Coalition of Service Industries (US), BusinessEurope, the European Services Forum (EU) or Nippon Keidanren (Japan), are organized, aggressive and influential in their demands for specific FTAs. The comprehensiveness of most free trade and investment agreements means that there are many cross-cutting issues as well as separate chapters and provisions in these agreements which serve to shape policy regimes in the interests of TNCs.

last update: May 2012


Justice and reparation: the struggle of Chevron-affected communities in COVID-19 times
Indigenous communities call for international solidarity to support for the vindication of rights of the comunities and peoples affected by corporate impunity and their struggle for a dignified life.
Tobacco and trade: an unhealthy and harmful marriage
The tobacco industry has a long history of using international trade deals to force their products into new markets.
New report: Secret regulatory talks threaten public protections
Regulatory cooperation has provided a forum for multinational business interests to influence government regulators in secretive committees that largely exclude consumer, environmental and other civil society representatives.
NZ red meat sector reacts to CPTPP ratification
The New Zealand red meat sector is urging other member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership to complete their ratifications so the treaty can come into force.
Trade Compass: Web-based service to utilize FTAs
Trade Compass is a commercial web-based service with various analytical functions that aims to optimize the utilization of FTAs.
The corporate attack on the movement for trade justice
Corporate lobbies and think tanks have gone on what appears to be a concerted attack against NGOs and other groups opposing new free trade and investment deals. A new report from Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl exposes how big business interests with the most to gain from the trade agreements have been trying to undermine and discredit civil society groups.
US ranchers saddle up for trade battle with Washington
President Trump’s promise to renegotiate Nafta and possibly place tariffs on Mexico or other US trading partners has the beef industry worried. The industry is already reeling from the loss of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Non-tariff barriers in agriculture and food trade in APEC: Business perspectives on impacts and solutions
A report commissioned by the APEC Business Advisory Council, based on interviews with four hundred business people & others, argues for harmonising food standards and labelling across Asia.
Fonterra welcomes new trade talks with Sri Lanka
Fonterra has welcomed the announcement that New Zealand and Sri Lanka will progress discussions on new trade and investment opportunities.
Fonterra poised for significant growth in Korean market
As New Zealand marks the one-year anniversary of its Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, Fonterra Co-operative Group is gearing up to take advantage of huge potential for its dairy products there, particularly cheese.