- 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.
The Cancun round of WTO negotiations in Mexico last year ended in disarray, prompting countries to seek other means of freeing up trade.
Rules of origin need proper perspective under trade pacts
Rules of origin (RoI) are emerging as one of the most important issues in the context of preferential trading relations of a country. They are a set of instruments, a lack of consensus on which can, and have, delayed several agreements on trade.
Trade Policy Advisory Committee system
The U.S. Congress established the private sector advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests.