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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

Caterpillar hoping for US-Colombia free trade agreement
Coal mines in Colombia may not become the gold mines they could have been for Caterpillar Inc should a stalled US-Colombia free trade agreement fail to progress through Congress.
Central America, the Caribbean and the impact of the European trade agenda
Latin American businessmen have long been lobbying for free trade agreements with the EU.
Chevron lobbies White House to pressure Ecuador to stop $12bin Amazon pollution lawsuit
Chevron is being accused of promoting geopolitical blackmail in its efforts to stave off a lawsuit accusing it of contaminating the Ecuadorian rain forest. Nearly 30,000 Amazon residents are seeking $12 billion from Chevron for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste. According to Newsweek, the oil giant is urging the Bush administration to yank special trade preferences for Ecuador if the country’s government doesn’t force the Amazon residents to drop the case.
Business begins push for post-Bush trade deals
A US business group outlined a plan on Thursday to restore White House trade negotiating authority that was badly damaged in a fight between President George W. Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over a free trade pact with Colombia.
Int’l trade group spent over $594,000 lobbying
The Emergency Committee for American Trade, a group of large U.S. exporters, spent more than $594,000 in the first quarter lobbying on international trade issues, according to a recent disclosure report.
US, China firms sign whopping 13.6 billion dollar deals
American and Chinese firms have signed deals worth 13.6 billion dollars ahead of a high level meeting that could formally endorse talks for a bilateral investment treaty, officials said.
US targets full opening of Asian beef market
The Bush administration, whose major political funding sources allegedly involve ranchers, is likely to urge China and Japan to "fully" open their beef markets, citing the negotiation results with South Korea.
Awaiting the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement
Corporate opportunities from JPEPA, if ever the Philippine Senate ratifies it
Businesses warily eye Democrats’ trade position
As the race to select a US Democratic presidential nominee drags on, corporate chieftains and some trade groups are raising concerns about the candidates’ free trade positions.
The launch of a book on the impact of ICSID on human rights
In its introduction the book explains how international financial institutions act like tailors charged with fitting out transnationals with tailor-made suits.