Trade and Investment

The EU-ASEAN Network has questioned what it called a ‘mad rush’ to conclude a comprehensive free trade deals before its term expires on June 30 2016. 

The network’s reaction comes in the wake of the conclusion of talks and the signing today in Bern, Switzerland of a comprehensive free trade agreement between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association or EFTA, an economic grouping composed of Lichenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland,

"This is a landmark ruling by the European Ombudsman that would rightfully make human rights  a core issue in any FTA negotiations. This ruling is significant to trade campaigners in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia as well because the EU-Vietnam FTA is being pushed as a template for the EU-Philippines FTA talks. The ruling helps amplify our demand to both EU and the Philippine government  for conduct of necessary social impact and human rights assessments prior to the launch of these negotiations." 

- Joseph Purugganan, Focus on the Global South

The tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concluded today, a day after its scheduled duration. Those of us who were in Nairobi, however are still contemplating how it is possible to have a successful outcome despite the fundamental differences among members on crucial issues. How come the MC10 which was at one point on the verge of collapse sailed through? Why a country like India with a 1.2 billion population was silenced and forced to accept a BAD deal compromising its policy space and above all its sovereignty?

Afsar Jafri, Focus on the Global South, Nairobi, 17thDecember 2015:


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