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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


CEOs seek to standardize FTA rules at APEC
Economies in the Asia-Pacific region need to establish standard FTA (free trade agreements) guidelines as FTAs between the countries have no fundamental rules or principles, the APEC CEO Summit chairman said Wednesday.
Mitsubishi eyes Asia for expansion
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motor has set its sights on Thailand and other Asian nations for future expansion, the president of the automaker said on Tuesday. "With FTAs (free trade agreements) envisioned with Asian countries, such as ASEAN and India, we should reap benefits of such initiatives," Masuko said.
CAFTA and the legacy of free trade
Passage of CAFTA is not guaranteed because of splits within the US corporate elite over the proper pace and focus of free trade.
Council created to boost US-Arab trade
The new body will work to fully open region’s markets to American firms.
Exporting prices: Drug makers’ trade group makes the industry’s priorities US trade policy
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents 67 parent companies and subsidiaries that develop and make prescription and over-the-counter drugs, listed contacts with the government’s top officials overseeing international trade agreements on more lobbying reports than it did for contacts with the Food and Drug Administration, which directly oversees the industry’s products.
NAM’s recommended candidates for US FTAs 2005
After extensive discussion within the NAM’s International Economic Policy Committee, a consensus was reached to recommend Egypt, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, and South Korea for US FTAs; and to place the five others - Brazil, China, The European Union, Japan, and Taiwan on a Watchlist, possibly to be recommended in the future as circumstances change.
Business group calls for dynamic global trade policy
In a white paper released today, Business Roundtable called on Congress and the Bush Administration to continue the nation’s history of economic growth through liberalized trade and investment policies by pursuing a vigorous international trade agenda for 2005.
T Shinawatra, Aust partner await FTA
T Shinawatra Thai Silk (Thailand) Co Ltd, a family business of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is negotiating with an Australian fashion designer to form a joint venture that benefits from low import tariffs under the Thai-Australia free-trade agreement.
The politics of United States free trade agreements
United States (U.S.) is aggressively working to open markets globally, regionally and bilaterally to expand American opportunities and to guard its investments in overseas market. With multilateral negotiations proceeding at a slow pace especially following the collapse of talks in Cancun, U.S. is on a spree signing free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Americas, Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations.
About the US government’s 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.