Regional Trade Agreements
Regional Trade Agreements between equal partners can be beneficial to both – but between a rich and a poor economy, the stronger economy always comes out on top.
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A regional free trade agreement removes all barriers to trade and foreign investment, meaning that poor economies are not allowed to use import tariffs to protect their growing industries or their farmers from floods of cheap imports.
Free trade agreements also include additional rules on investment that pose a potential threat to poor people’s access to public services. The US and the EU in particular, are pressing ahead with this piecemeal approach to trade. And without the advantage of 'strength in numbers' that poor countries had at the World Trade Organization talks, they are much more likely to be pressed into accepting unreasonable demands of rich countries.