NAFTA reopening possible after South Korea deal, Harper hints

The Canadian Press Posted: Mar 13, 2014 10:11 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014 10:21 AM ET

Prime Minister tells B.C. audience he's open to discussing the 20-year-old pact

With the ink still wet on a free-trade deal with South Korea, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada would be willing to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement for the right price.

Harper stopped in Vancouver on his way home from South Korea on Wednesday, wasting no time in selling the new agreement.

Brics are rethinking costs of bilateral investment treaties

March 12, 2014. ft.com Letters to Editor  From Mr Kavaljit Singh.

Sir, Robert Zoellick’s assertion that China can advance internal reforms through proposed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the US and the EU is unconvincing (“International treaties can once again help China advance”, Comment, March 11). BITs are not meant to tackle corruption and fight favouritism in China, as perceived by Mr Zoellick. Such policy objectives can be best advanced through domestic political reforms.

Corrupt “Secret” Global Trade and Investor Agreements: EU Facilitating Corporate Plunder (re ‘Profiting from Crisis' Report)

By Colin Todhunter, Global Research, March 11, 2014.
Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements.

Pakistan may revisit all preferential, free trade agreements

Pakistan government is revisiting all the Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Agreements.

There is a growing realisation among policymakers that they had been poorly negotiated and were now causing harm to the domestic industry.

Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry officials in Islamabad told Dawn newspaper on Tuesday that the government might even go for total scrapping of all these trade agreements.

They said, however, proper working would be made in case the government opted for renegotiation.

Pakistan so far has signed four FTAs under South Asia Free Trade Agreement with China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. Besides, there are three PTAs with Iran, Mauritius and Indonesia.

Officials said these agreements were making some of country’s imports costlier due to monopolistic tendencies created by them against cheaper sources of supplies from other countries of the world market.

NAFTA Report Warns Of Trade Deal Environmental Disasters

By Michael McAuliff, March 11th, 2014. Huffington Post. 

WASHINGTON -- A report due to be released Tuesday aims to offer an object lesson to President Barack Obama: Free trade deals have high costs in unintended consequences for the environment, people's way of life, and local sovereignty.

The report by the Sierra Club and other groups in Canada and Mexico, released on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, summarizes more than 100 nonprofit, government and scholarly studies of NAFTA, and draws a damning picture.

Perhaps hardest hit is Mexico, according to the report, where expanded trade in agricultural products came at the expense of smaller farmers, who couldn't compete with a surge in pesticide-heavy factory farms. Small farmers resorted to cutting down forests to farm more land, and still failed. A boom in mining came at the expense of local landowners, with subsequent industrial pollution.

New Report Reveals Environmental Costs of North American Free Trade Agreement Environmental Damages Underscore Risks of Unfair Trade

WASHINGTON - March 11 - A massive free trade deal went into effect 20 years ago and has had very harmful effects on communities and the environment in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, according to a report released today.

January 1, 1994 marked the first day of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and nearly 20 years later, communities are still suffering from its consequences.

Among other conclusions, this report finds that NAFTA:

Opposition to EU-US trade deal growing as negotiations start in Brussels

March 10, 2014. 

By Miriam Ross

Trade unions and campaign groups have written to Vince Cable calling for a halt to negotiations on the EU-US trade deal, as talks begin in Brussels today.

The groups, including the UK’s second biggest trade union UNISON, environmental, social justice and anti-poverty organisations, believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will undermine democracy, threaten public services and lead to lower standards in a range of areas including environmental protection, workers’ rights and food safety.

EU and US pressed to drop dispute-settlement rule from (TTIP)trade deal

By Shawn Donnan in London, March 10th 2014

Faced with an increasingly vocal opposition to a landmark EU-US trade agreement, a growing number of backers of the deal are starting to ask a simple question: might the future of transatlantic trade be better served if one of its most controversial provisions was simply dropped?

Profiting from crisis How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

Cecilia Olivet and Pia Eberhardt, March 7 

Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

Profiting from Crisis is a story about how corporations, backed by lawyers, are using international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing governments from Europe’s crisis countries. It shows how the global investment regime thrives on economic crises, but is very uneven in who it benefits. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

TTIP: A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracy.

March 5,  2014 Bilaterals.org

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment treaty currently being negotiated – in secret – between the European Union and the USA. As officials from both sides acknowledge, the main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations, such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The stakes, in other words, could not be higher.