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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


Soy group checks out Central, South American markets
The pending free trade agreement for Colombia could increase market access for soy products, but what would the impact really be? That was one of the goals of a fact-finding mission conducted by two US soybean farmers that participated in a Free Trade Agreement fact-finding mission to the South American country last week.
Free Trade Alliance forms new Cross Border Trucking Coalition
The coalition is being formed to address the US Department of Transportation’s recent cancellation of its Cross Border Trucking Demonstration Project and will be comprised of companies, industry organizations, trade associations and business chambers that support the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Pro-free trade groups put together broad coalition
After years of watching the anti-free trade groups put together remarkably broad coalitions, the pro-free trade side in the US is striking back.
Who are the cleared advisors that have access to secret ACTA documents?
According to USTR, all of the members of the 27 USTR trade advisory committees are cleared to see the classified documents in the ACTA negotiations. This blog entry lists more than a hundred, but it is only a partial list of the several hundred lobbyist who are considered "cleared advisors."
“The job will be to ‘court’ specific manufacturers to Georgia”
An interview with Amy Denman, the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia
General Electric, Caterpillar push for free trade under Obama
General Electric Co. and Caterpillar Inc. say the Obama administration should keep trade as open as possible to help boost exports and should resist lawmaker calls for protectionism during the global financial crisis.
NAM president calls for study of a transatlantic free trade area
The US-based National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler today called for in-depth study of a "Transatlantic Free Trade Area" between either the European Union and the United States or the EU and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) nations.
ASEAN FTA good for New Zealand dairy industry
Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier described the conclusion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations free trade agreement (ASEAN FTA) negotiations as excellent news for the country’s dairy industry.
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.