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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

Pfizer’s pforeign intrigue: Tried to scupper US trade deal in price control protest
Pfizer lobbied to scupper a free trade deal between the US and New Zealand because it was angry at the New Zealand government’s healthcare system, which strictly controls prices and new drug approvals, according to diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks.
Indo-US investment treaty first step towards FTA
Interview with US-India Business Council president Ron Somers
US Industry: Trade Deals Vital To Meet Obama’s Export Goal
U.S. trade and business groups are skeptical the U.S. can double exports without the Obama Administration signing a raft of new free trade agreements.
Trade pacts hurting Maine, manufacturers tell top US trade rep
On the second day of a two-day visit to Maine, the president’s top trade advisor has been hearing from some members of the state’s manufacturing sector about how trade policy has been hurting them.
AMI White Paper: FTAs create billions in revenue, thousands of new industry jobs
The US meat industry is doing all it can to get ratification of pending US trade agreements, so it can sell more product overseas (just when the US Department of Agriculture is calling on US residents to lower their meat consumption to improve health).
US food giants support free trade deal
Food giants Nestle and Walmart are among 26 signatories to a letter to the US Trade Representative and Department of Agriculture. In it, they warn protecting US special interests in negotiations could cost its exporters free access to other TPP countries’ markets.
FTA implementation crucial to US pork industry
“We believe that implementation of the US free trade agreement with Korea (KORUS) is the single most important trade issue to the US pork industry,” says Nick Giordano, vice president, international affairs for the National Pork Producers Council.
Lankan entrepreneurs protest against CEPA
The Business Times reliably understands that sections of the government provided unofficial backing for the protest.
Business leaders to step up push for Asia-Pacific free trade area
APEC’s business lobby, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council, will urge 21 government leaders to set a timetable for the creation of a regional free trade area later this year
Boeing chief urges quick US action on trade deals
The United States risks losing significant export sales to the European Union, Canada and other countries unless it approves three long-delayed free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, Boeing (BA.N) Chief Executive James McNerney said on Thursday.