logo 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
photo: Mehr Demokratie e.V.

Int’l trade group spent over $594,000 lobbying
The Emergency Committee for American Trade, a group of large U.S. exporters, spent more than $594,000 in the first quarter lobbying on international trade issues, according to a recent disclosure report.
US, China firms sign whopping 13.6 billion dollar deals
American and Chinese firms have signed deals worth 13.6 billion dollars ahead of a high level meeting that could formally endorse talks for a bilateral investment treaty, officials said.
US targets full opening of Asian beef market
The Bush administration, whose major political funding sources allegedly involve ranchers, is likely to urge China and Japan to "fully" open their beef markets, citing the negotiation results with South Korea.
Government procurement provisions in the CARIFORUM EPA and lessons for other ACP states
This paper on government procurement and EPAs written by Stephen Woolcock from LSE recommends that ACP countries first open their procurement markets on a regional basis, before making commitments to the EU.
Awaiting the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement
Corporate opportunities from JPEPA, if ever the Philippine Senate ratifies it
Rules of Origin and EPAs: What has been agreed? What does it mean? What next?
This paper provides an analysis on the significance of changes made to rules of origin during the EPA negotiations
Businesses warily eye Democrats’ trade position
As the race to select a US Democratic presidential nominee drags on, corporate chieftains and some trade groups are raising concerns about the candidates’ free trade positions.
ITC launches new investigation on possible modification to the US-Chile FTA rules of origin
The investigation, Probable Economic Effect of Certain Modifications to the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement Rules of Origin, was requested by the US Trade Representative (USTR)
The launch of a book on the impact of ICSID on human rights
In its introduction the book explains how international financial institutions act like tailors charged with fitting out transnationals with tailor-made suits.
Pharma-chemical lobby demands unhindered trade
The influential umbrella group of the Swiss pharmaceutical and chemical industries has demanded that the government act to remove global trade barriers. It said such demands should be made when creating free trade agreements with selected countries, preferably Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well as the United States.