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This Sunday, trade representatives from member states of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) will meet their counterparts from the United States in Walvis Bay, to resume negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, expected to be concluded by the end of this year.
The Singapore and New Zealand Governments are selling their new free trade and investment agreement as an abstraction, unlinked to people’s lives.
You’ve got to wonder at the nerve of New Zealand trade officials. During the furtive Multilateral Agreement on Investment negotiations and the subsequent international waves of opposition they were quietly hatching binding bilateral investment deals containing provisions resembling some of the most controversial elements of the MAI.
The recent explosion of bilateral investment and trade agreements and investor-state disputes is of growing concern. Many mobilisations against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) aim to stop attempts by industrialised countries to kickstart talks on a multilateral investment agreement at September’s Cancun Ministerial meeting.
Writing in the Financial Times (Sept. 22, 2003) after the collapse of the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick lamented the “broader culture of protest” that characterized negotiations at Cancun, correctly (if sarcastically) noting that “countries that feel victimized are unlikely to agree to anything.”
Japan will hold free-trade talks early next year with Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday.
Testimony of Eric H. Smith President International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)