- Key issues
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.
US exports to nations with which the United States has negotiated a free trade agreement (FTA) are growing at double the rate of US exports in general. That striking statistic was just one of many provided by the panel "Can More FTAs Lead to Freer Trade?" at the recent New York conference of the American Association of Exporters & Importers.
Eli Lilly and Company chairman and CEO, Sidney Taurel, today made the case for a Japan-US Economic Integration Agreement, and urged private groups to help lay the groundwork for such a free-trade deal. He also expressed optimism regarding a favorable conclusion of the US-Korea negotiations over a free-trade agreement, arguing that "both sides understand the symbolic as well as the practical benefits of what they are trying to accomplish."
Papers from a Yeditepe University conference on competition policy and regional trade agreements.
The region covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement will loom large as chief executives across all industries plot their growth in 2007, according to a survey commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange. The executives listed the US and China as the top two "strategically important" countries.
The proliferation of regional and bilateral free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific, coupled with the failure of global trade talks, is driving up transaction costs for business despite the decrease in tariffs.
An Asia Times Online investigation reveals that at the time of his death, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Lee Jong-wook, a South Korean national, had closely aligned himself with the US government and by association US corporate interests, often to the detriment of the WHO’s most vital commitments and positions.
Sources say Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s challenge to the Free Trade Area of the Americas was on the top of the agenda of the Bilderberg Group meeting in Canada last week.
David Hamod, president and CEO of the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce, speaks about US-Arab trade relations
Don’t be fooled by the images of street protests against free trade that you often see on TV. In the real world, the most powerful opposition to US-Latin American free-trade agreements does not come from radical leftist workers and students, but from potentially damaged business tycoons.
US Senators Patrick Leahy and Barack Obama have written to the US Trade Representative urging that he ignore Chevron’s campaign to exclude Ecuador from FTA negotiations until the Ecuadorian government shuts down a historic environmental lawsuit against the company.