Bilateral trade agreements
Source: Public Citizen
In 2008, Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a trade unionist. The government has not been a neutral or benevolent actor in Colombia’s human rights nightmare. This short paper outlines key talking points surrounding the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and labour rights abuses. 2008 (pdf). [see more]
Imprimir   Enviar    Correct 

Case studies

It is generally recognized that bilateral agreements, especially between a developing and a developed country, are not the best option and that multilateral negotiations and agreements are preferable as they are less discriminatory and allow a better bargaining position for the developing countries.

There are concerns that bilateral and regional trade agreements are incomplete, unequal, or counter-productive that even those who support the recent proliferation of the agreements believe must be addressed. The volume of agreements activity stretches negotiation capacities to their limit, and in the case of developing countries, prevents them from actively participating in all proceedings.

Additionally, there is a fear that in bilateral agreements formed outside the WTO, developing countries do not have the power of collective bargaining to negotiate in their best interest. For example, Chile concluded an agreement with the US in which it committed to lowering tariffs on agriculture products and deregulating investment, but could not gain any concessions from the US regarding farm subsidies.

‘Our planet is wrapped in a thick weft of international, regional and bilateral economic and financial agreements and treaties that have subordinated or taken the place of the basic tools of international and national human rights law (including the right to a safe environment), national Constitutions, economic legislation directed to national development and labor and social laws that tend to alleviate inequalities and exclusion.

This weft, as a consequence of the application of “the most favourable treatment” “national treatment” and “most favoured nation” clauses, that appear in almost every treaty, works as communicating glasses system, that allows neo-liberal policies circulate freely on a planetary scale and get into States, where they disintegrate national economies and provoke grave social harms.

All this involves the primacy of capital rights over democratic and human rights of peoples. Liberalisation and privatisation policies are consolidating –as a legally binding legal system-. It is a matter of making these policies non reverted through international agreements. It is the regression to a sort of feudal or corporative law, opposed to national and international public law, that works in the exclusive interest of the big transnational capital and those of rich states and to the detriment of fundamental rights of the so-called peripheral states and their peoples'.

(From Joint Statement submitted by the Europe Center – Third World, non-governmental organization with general consultative status and the American Association of Jurists. Commission on Human Rights, 56th period of sessions – July 26 to August 13, 2004. See full text . (Pdf format)

Imprimir print   Enviar send   correct 

In-depth reports
Detailed reports on key issues
Free Trade Agreements - FTAs
Through different trade related mechanisms privatization and deregulation processes are being imposed.
NGO web sites
Collective effort to share information and stimulate cooperation against bilateral trade and investment agreements that are opening countries to the deepest forms of penetration by transnational corporations. It provides information on several bilateral and regional trade agreements, reports and news.
Third World Network (TWN)
International network of organizations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, the Third World and North-South issues.
Third World Network Africa (TWN Africa)
African Secretariat of the Third World Network that carries out Research and Advocacy on issues of social and economic policy that advances the needs and interests of peoples of African and other third world countries (especially marginalized social groups), a fair distribution of world's resources, and forms of development which are sustainable and fulfil human needs.

Analysis and reports

Bilateral agreements imposing TRIPS-plus intellectual property rights on biodiversity in developing countries (Grain)

Serious effects of free trade treaties (Third World Network Features)

U.S. trade tactic splits Arab states (IPS)

Bilateral investment agreements: agents of new global standards for the protection of intellectual property rights? (Grain)

Call to review bilateral trade deals (Third World Network)


U.S. trade tactic splits Arab states (IPS)

US-Bahrain trade deal exposes GCC chinks (Bilaterals)


Chile FTA

Declaration on the Proposed U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART))


Colombia's horrific labor abuses are among a long list of reasons to oppose the Colombia FTA (Public Citizen)

The violent intersections of commerce and conflict: examining the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement and Plan Colombia (American Friends Service Committee)

The U.S.-Colombia FTA: fuels the fires of the conflict (American Friends Service Committee)


Thai Human Rights Commission attacks FTA with US (Third World Network)

Thai-US free trade agreement a matter of life and death (Third World Network Features)

Critics sound alarm in Thai-U.S. free trade talks (Third World Network)

Thai environment minister questions GMOs introduction through trade agreement with US (Third World Network)

The U.S. – Thailand Agreement (Bilaterals)

Free Trade Agreement Between the USA and Thailand threatens access to HIV/AIDS treatment (Oxfam)



US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement

"Please vote NO on the US-Morocco FTA" (Public Citizen) report


Malaysian activists launch campaign against free trade deal with U.S. (Bilaterals)

Deal with U.S. ‘may harm’ Malaysia (Gulf Times)


Philippines-Japan pact: Japan's economic takeover (IBON)


Milking Thailand: The Thai-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Focus on the Global South)


Raw deal: The EU's unfair trade agreements with Mexico and South Africa (World Development Movement)

The EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement seven years on: A warning to the global South (Transnational Institute)


US-Uruguay Free Trade Agreement (La Diaria)

Choike is a project of the Third World Institute | Contact | Avda. 18 de julio 2095/301, Montevideo 11200, Uruguay | Phone: +598 2403 1424