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Bilateral FTA & Investment Agreements Overview

Overview Of Bilateral Free Trade And Investment Agreements

Background paper prepared for the "Fighting FTAs" international strategy workshop organised by FTA Watch in cooperation with, GRAIN and MSF in Bangkok on 27-29 July 2006

Revised for public release as of 1 October 2006

This 22-page document gives a general overview of free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that have been signed or are being negotiated all over the world. Organised by region, it provides a snapshot of the many processes currently under way, some of the controversies they raise and opposition movements against these agreements.

This document was originally prepared as a resource paper for the "Fighting FTAs" strategy workshop organised by FTA Watch with the collaboration of, GRAIN and Médecins Sans Frontières in Thailand at the end of July 2006. It was then revised at the end of September, with the input of the workshop participants for sharing as a public document.

In the fast moving world of FTAs and BITs, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of deals being negotiated, signed or put into effect. This paper aims to help people get a basic handle on what is going on. Bilateral trade and investment agreements are literally exploding right now, as governments around the world compete individually for market access favours and closer geopolitical ties in the breakdown of multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In many cases they go much further than WTO commitments. These agreements are about much more than trade, however, and present huge challenges for social movements.

Available online at:

For more information:

FTA Watch: GRAIN: MSF: is a collaborative 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 is an open publishing website where researchers, activists, ngos and others can share news, analysis and strategy discussions about free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties worldwide weekly is an electronic mailout of the latest additions to the site, released each friday

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