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TWN preliminary report on FTA/WTO and financial crisis

Third World Network | 16 March 2009

TWN Preliminary Report on FTA/WTO and Financial Crisis

A TWN report finds that North-South free trade agreements (FTAs), bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments often contain a number of provisions that can increase the likelihood of a financial crisis and make it more difficult to take the necessary measures to deal with one once it occurs. This note briefly highlights the main provisions in these agreements that can hamper the effective implementation of recommendations to deal with the current crisis.

In particular, it examines the effect of these provisions on the ability to effectively:

 Regulate the operation of financial institutions/instruments
 Regulate capital flows
 Carry out bailouts
 Implement stimulus packages

It finds that some areas covered in these agreements can make it difficult to effectively carry out the measures above. Whilst most barriers are likely to come from the services and investment chapters, the competition, goods and government procurement chapters in North-South FTAs can also have an effect.

The report is available online at: