Economic Agreements

A second option for the United States is to be fully involved in regional economic networks, in addition to an active security role. For example, the United States could join the CPTPP and support its rapid expansion to Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom. U.S. markets and technology make these agreements attractive and could encourage China to join in the long term (we believe the benefits are significant if the group does). But current U.S. policy does not seem to support this approach. Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain characteristics of the global economy. However, both the WTO and agreements such as NAFTA are controversial among groups such as alter-globalists, who argue that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals and not workers, while free trade was a proven method of improving economic performance and increasing overall income. To counter this opposition, pressure has been exerted for labour and environmental standards to be included in these trade agreements. Labour standards contain provisions relating to the minimum wage and working conditions, while environmental standards would prevent trade if there were fears of environmental damage. The WTO also relays disputes between Member States on trade issues.

When one country`s government accuses another country`s government of violating world trade rules, a WTO panel settles the dispute. (The panel`s judgment may be appealed to an appellate body.) If the WTO finds that the government of a Member State has not complied with the agreements it has signed, the member is obliged to change its policy and bring it in line with the rules. If the member finds it politically impossible to change his policy, he can offer compensation to other countries in the form of lower obstacles to other goods. If it decides not to do so, other countries may obtain WTO authorization to impose higher tariffs (i.e. “retaliation”) on products originating in the Member State concerned because they have not complied. Proponents of economic partnership agreements argue that the agreement will benefit all parties in the same way in the long run. By removing barriers to trade and people, each economy in the agreement can take advantage of the other benefits of the market. In addition to economic ties, economic partnerships can strengthen political relations and provide strong allies in times of political upheaval or military action. The United States is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) contains rules for trade among the 154 members of the WTO. The United States and other WTO members are currently participating in the WTO negotiations on development in Doha and a strong and open Doha agreement on both goods and services would go a long way in managing the global economic crisis and restoring the role of trade in promoting economic growth and development. The creation of a reciprocal trade agreement puts the EU at the forefront of how to reconcile the ACP Group`s special status with the EU`s WTO commitments.

The near-solution solution to this dilemma is an agreement that is reciprocal only in the way necessary to meet wto criteria. In reality, ACP countries will have some leeway and maintain limited protection of their key products. The extent to which trade should be liberalised under the new EPAs remains a highly controversial issue and it remains to be seen whether the WTO provisions governing regional trade agreements will be revised at the end of the Doha Round in favour of the EPA system. Free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement provide for duty-free trade in goods and services between nations and the removal of other trade barriers.