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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


UK agri firms aim to cash in on EU-ASEAN FTA
British enterprises, particularly from the agriculture and agri-technology sectors, are expected to take advantage of the upcoming free-trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Thailand.
At your service: the European Services Forum’s privileged access to the EU Commission over EU trade policy
A recent documentary on lobbying in the EU highlights the historically intimate links between the EU Commission and European services companies. New research reveals that they are as close as ever, working hand in glove to liberalise and deregulate services markets – from Canada to the ASEAN region, from the US to India.
Ag coalition says US-EU FTA must include agriculture
A coalition of US food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council reiterated that any US-EU FTA deal must include agriculture and that the EU must address non-tariff trade barriers.
Almost 50 executives from the top US companies to take part in the 2012 Uzbekistan-US Annual Business Forum in Tashkent
The American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce has been arguing strongly to bring the US-Uzbek bilateral investment treaty into force. The Uzbeks have signed it, but the US has not yet ratified it.
USCSI - Business Community TPP Services Letter to USTR
We are writing to express our strong support for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that includes major commitments aimed at further liberalizing cross-border trade and investment in services.
How City lobby supported controversial Indian trade deal
A secret deal that saw Brussels blamed for ‘forcing’ Britain to take in 12,000 Indian workers – despite high unemployment – was supported by a lobbying push from British financial services companies.
Ecuador must live up to its obligations under trade and investment agreements - NAM
The US National Association of Manufacturers is asking the Obama administration to give Ecuador three months to meet the requirements and standards under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty or be removed from the Andean Trade Preference Act.
Cargill lobbyist’s quest is open markets
Devry Boughner sits under a portrait of Ho Chi Minh in the home of Vietnam’s ambassador to the United States and pitches the virtues of open markets to a communist diplomat.
Coalition calls for comprehensive US-EU FTA
An ad hoc coalition of 40 food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council in a letter sent yesterday to the Obama administration and Congress expressed concern that a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union might fall short of long-established US objectives for trade pacts.
International civil society groups slam corporate influence on Trans-Pacific free trade talks
The 11th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations between Australia, the US, New Zealand, Malaysia and four other countries starts in Melbourne on March 1. Civil society groups from those countries are in Melbourne to contest corporate influence and debate the issues.