- 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
The tobacco industry has a long history of using international trade deals to force their products into new markets.
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.
The new generation of trade agreements currently being negotiated by the EU endangers financial regulation. Worse, they rein in the capacity of states to regulate in the future.
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 is a commercial web-based service with various analytical functions that aims to optimize the utilization of FTAs.
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.
Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan hopes to see out of any NAFTA renegotiation the basic principles of keeping the border open for trade
The Minerals Council of Australia has called on the Government to pursue further trade liberalization through bilateral and regional trading agreements.
The chief executive of one of the world’s biggest agribusiness companies says Australia has a major opportunity to “step up and fill the gap’’ selling more food products to Asian markets.
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.