Attac møte : BITs
Posted by Fredsvenn den april 21, 2008
Norge vurderer nå på nytt å inngå bilaterale og regionale investeringsavtaler (BIT’s) – med begrunnelsen at avtalene vil fremme og sikre investeringer i u-land. Modellen som er blitt lagt frem for slike avtaler bærer tydelig preg av tidligere multilaterale investeringsavtaler (både den såkalte MAI-avtalen og avtaler i WTO), som ble avvist av en bred front av u-land, og i stedet blitt dyttet gjennom bilateralt og regionalt av i-land for å beskytte og fremme sine industriers økonomiske interesser. Fattige lands autonomi blir svekket, med uttrykkelige krav og regler, mens investorene sitter igjen med alle fordelene (den såkalte investor-stat-tvisteløsningen).
Så, fremmer disse avtalene investeringer, som også er bra for u-landene, eller sikrer de bare de investeringene som allerede er gjort? Er det riktig av de norske beslutningstakerne å pakke inn en utviklingsretorikk i begrunnelsen for disse avtalene? Hvilke forutsetninger må i tilfelle til for å få til en balanse mellom fattige land i sør og rike investorer i nord?
Linn Herning (leder av Handelsgruppa i Utviklingsutvalget, og styremedlem i Attac) gir en introduksjon til temaet, og ser på sammenhengene og utfordringene i norsk utviklings- og handelspolitikk.
Onsdag 23. april kl 1830, sem. rom 132, Harriet Holters hus, Blindern
BITs-problemstillingen tar vi også med oss til Attac sitt europeiske sommertreff (ESU), 1. – 6. august i Tyskland, for diskusjon med andre land i Europa. Lurer du på noe ang. sommertreffet, og har DU lyst å være med? Kom på medlemsmøtet vårt for politisk diskusjon og praktisk info.
A free trade area is a designated group of countries that have agreed to eliminate tariffs, quotas and preferences on most (if not all) goods between them. It can be considered the second stage of economic integration. Countries choose this kind of economic integration form if their economical structures are complementary. If they are competitive, they will choose customs union.
A customs union is a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas. Common competition policy is also helpful to avoid competition deficiency.
Purposes for establishing a customs union normally include increasing economic efficiency and establishing closer political and cultural ties between the member countries. It is the third stage of economic integration. Customs union is established through trade pact.
The degree of economic integration can be categorized into six stages:
The African Union (abbreviated AU in English, and UA in its other working languages) is an intergovernmental organization consisting of fifty-three African nations. Established on July 9, 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the amalgamated African Economic Community (AEC) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Its headquarters is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Eventually, the AU aims to have a single currency (the Afro) and a single integrated defense force, as well as other institutions of state, including a cabinet for the AU Head of State.
The purpose of the union is to help secure Africa’s democracy, human rights, and a sustainable economy, especially by bringing an end to intra-African conflict and creating an effective common market.
The U.S. objective with this initiative has been to gradually increase trade and investment in the Middle East, and to assist the Middle East countries in implementing domestic reforms, instituting the rule of law, protecting private property rights (including intellectual property), and creating a foundation for openness, economic growth, and prosperity.
Among the stated objectives are:
Screenshot from official US-MEFTA website, 15-11-2004
- Actively supporting WTO membership of countries in the Middle East and Maghreb
- Expanding the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP’s) that currently provides duty-free entry to the U.S. market for some 3,500 products from 140 developing economies
- Negotiating Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA’s) that establish a framework for expanding trade and resolving outstanding disputes
- Negotiating Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT’s) with interested countries by obligating governments to treat foreign investors fairly and offering legal protection equal to domestic investors
- Negotiating comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) with willing countries that demonstrate a commitment to economic openness and reform
- Helping to target more than $1 billion of annual U.S funding and spur partnerships with private organizations and businesses that support trade and development
– European Free Trade Area (EU, EFTA, CEFTA)
– Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA)
List of Customs Unions
EU – Turkey Customs Union (since 1996)
Andean Community (CAN)
Customs Union of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) due in 2007
Customs Union of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), due in 2008
Customs Union of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), due in 2010
Customs Union of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), due in 2011 ?
Customs Union of the African Economic Community (AEC), due in 2019
Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC)
Customs Union of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM) 
Customs Union of the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA)
The former Zollverein
North American Union (NAU)
The North American Union (NAU) is a theoretical continental union of Canada, Mexico and the United States similar in structure to the European Union, sometimes including a common currency called the Amero. It could be considered the North American analogue of the European Union.
The blueprint for this governing body was laid out in a 2005 report entitled «Building a North American Community» published by the Independent Task Force on North America, a partnership among the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an American foreign policy think tank, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales.
Officials from all three nations have said there are no government plans to create such a union, although the idea has been discussed and proposed in academic and scholarly circles, either as a union or as a North American Community (see Independent Task Force on North America). The Independent Task Force on North America was chaired by Canadian politician John Manley, a former Deputy Prime Minister.
In the 20th century the first well-known proposal for a form of North American unification was the North American technate proposed by Technocracy Incorporated in their Technocracy Study Course published first in 1934. The technate would include not only Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, but also Central America, the Caribbean, Greenland, and parts of South America. A technate governing North America remains an objective of the organization.
Prior to the formation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) the Independent Task Force on North America, a project organized by the Council on Foreign Relations (U.S.), the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, launched in October 2004, published two documents calling for greater integration between the three countries: Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010 (March 2005) and its final report Building a North American Community.
The formation of the SPP, the reports from the Independent Task Force, and comments from Vicente Fox were cited as evidence for a planned North American Union. Theories about an ongoing plan are predominant on the Internet, especially among bloggers and other writers.
Then President of Mexico, Vicente Fox said in an interview for Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy that in the long term he sought with the United States a «convergence of our two economies, convergence on the basic and fundamental variables of the economy, convergence on rates of interest, convergence on income of people, convergence on salaries.» He suggested this might take as long as 20 years to be realized, but the ultimate «convergence» he saw between the United States and Mexico would allow them to «erase that border, open up that border for [the] free flow of products, merchandises, [and] capital as well as people».
Professor Robert Pastor is a Vice Chair of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America who has suggested forming a North American Commission similar to the European Commission and other governing institutions for North America.
The evolving history of a future North American Union can trace its roots back to the original major expansion of European power in the Americas, for which the voyage to America by Christopher Columbus was the major initial catalyst. Multiple great powers, especially England, France, and Spain, among others, fought each other for total hegemony over the new lands.
Eventually, the colonial peoples of North America obtained independence from European control as three major nation-states: first, the United States of America (declared 1776, recognized 1783); second, the United Mexican States (declared 1810, recognized 1821); third, the Canadian Confederation (initiated 1867, completed 1982). Although initially ignored or suppressed by the former colonial peoples, the indigenous peoples of the Americas were eventually also recognized as fellow North Americans.
(At the same time, of course, the peoples of Central America and South America also obtained their independence; note that Central America originally declared independence as the United Provinces of Central America (1823), but soon broke up into separate independent states (1840).)
In recent times, the three North American nation-states have been increasing their economic ties, accelerating the process with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In response to the demands of increasing globalization and shared concerns from abroad, such as the increasing clout of other economic spheres such as the European Union and China, the leaders of the three nations agreed in 2005 to work more cooperatively on shared North American concerns. To this end, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was established. 
It is likely that any future North American Union would continue to build on the work done through initiatives such as NAFTA and the SPP.
NAU precursors and alternatives:
United States of North America (fiction)
Other regional blocs:
Den nye verdensorden
The Rhodes-Milner Round Table Groups were founded in September 1909 in a conference at the Estate of Lord Anglesey, Plas Newydd in Wales. The framework of the organisation was devised by Lionel Curtis, but the overall idea was due to Lord Milner.
It is worth noting that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was actually drafted by Alfred Milner, and it was a letter to Lord Rothschild, making the Balfour Declaration, and thus British support for Zionism, a product of two people closely connected with the Round Table Groups whose goal was World Government.
The Groups were designed to promulgate the idea of the formation of a Federal World Government, based on the unification of the British Empire and the United States of America. How successful they were in achieving this can be debated. Certainly they were successful in creating a central bank in the United States which increased British influence on U.S. economic affairs because of the connections between the Bank of England and Wall Street banks. It can be argued that they set the blueprint for future organisations such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, the Trilateral Commission, and The Bilderberg Group.
Lionel Curtis founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs in June 1919. A year later its sister organisation, the Council of Foreign Relations, was formed in America. It is perhaps in such organisations that the legacy of the Round Table still lives on.
Although the Round Table still exists today, its position in influencing the policies of world leaders has been much reduced from its heyday during the First World War. Today it is largely a Commonwealth ginger group, designed to consider and influence Commonwealth policies. It also continues to run Round Table, a journal, and hold dinners and conferences.
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