bilaterals.org, GRAIN and BIOTHAI are today launching a collaborative publication, "Fighting FTAs: The growing resistance to bilateral free trade and investment agreements". While global trade talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) stagnate, governments and corporations are busy spinning a complex web of bilateral free trade and investment agreements (FTAs). "Fighting FTAs" looks at what this FTA frenzy is really about, how social movements are fighting back and strategic learnings emerging from these struggles.
FTAs are powerful weapons of neoliberal globalisation that go much further than WTO agreements. Through these secretive deals, states and corporations are trying to divide and conquer the world, creating vast new privileges for transnational corporations. Typically, FTAs cover a broad array of issues, from giving corporations the right to sue governments, to legalising the dumping of American farm surpluses, to raising the cost of life-saving medicines through longer patent terms. FTAs further concentrate economic power and natural resources in the hands of a few, disempower communities, destroy biodiversity and undermine food sovereignty. And each concession made through an FTA becomes a benchmark for further deals.