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Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

By Alejandro Teitelbaum

The planet is wrapped in a dense web of international, regional and bilateral economic and financial agreements and treaties that have subordinated or supplanted the basic instruments of international and regional human rights law (including the right to a healthy environment).

The planet is wrapped in a dense web of international, regional and bilateral economic and financial agreements and treaties that have subordinated or supplanted the basic instruments of international and regional human rights law (including the right to a healthy environment), the Constitutions national laws, economic legislation aimed at national development, and labor and social laws aimed at mitigating inequalities and exclusion.


This plot, as a consequence of the application of the clauses of "more favorable treatment", of "national treatment" and of "nation, most favored", that appear in almost all the treaties, works as a system of communicating vessels, which allows Neoliberal policies circulate freely on a planetary scale and penetrate the States, where they disintegrate national economies and cause serious social damage.

Regionally, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), which is the free trade agreement between the countries of Central America and the United States, exists in the American continent the Dominican Republic, the Andean Countries - United States FTA, which Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are negotiating with the United States, and the projected Free Trade Area of ​​the Americas (FTAA) have been incorporated.

Bilateral treaties include treaties for the promotion of investment protection, free trade, intellectual property rights, cooperation and science and technology. And for the resolution of controversies between the parties, the formation, case by case, of international arbitration tribunals is provided outside the judicial system of state and international public law.

It is a "feudalization" of law, a corporate law opposed to national and international public law, which works in the exclusive interest of large transnational capital and rich states and to the detriment of the fundamental rights of so-called peripheral states of their peoples. With the aggravating circumstance that this corporate law is accompanied by a strong coercive system to ensure its application: fines, sanctions and economic, diplomatic and military pressure, etc. This process of economic and political neocolonization cannot be separated in the American continent from the growing and threatening US military presence and activity: bases whose number and importance continue to increase, joint military exercises, military advisers, Plan Colombia, Plan Puebla - Panama, Franco-American coup in Haiti with the ex post-facto blessing of the Security Council, etc. It is the consecration of a system in which military aggression and economic aggression are the two aspects of the same policy of world domination.

This is clearly stated in the Trade Act enacted by President Bush in August 2002, which established the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority, also known as the Fast Track, which established the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority. it conferred broad powers on the President, in the name of national security, liberty, and the interests of the United States, to enter into trade agreements that Congress may approve or reject, but not modify. In points 1) and 2) (b - Recommendations) of Section 2101 of Title XXI the law says: "The expansion of international trade is vital to the national security of the United States. Foreign trade is a critical element for the US Economic Growth, Might, and Leadership in the World The national security of the United States depends on its economic security, which in turn is grounded in a vibrant and growing industrial base.


Trade agreements must maximize opportunities for the most important sectors of the economy. The expansion of trade has been the engine of economic growth. Trade agreements maximize opportunities for critical sectors and essential components of the United States economy, such as information technology, telecommunications and other cutting-edge technologies, basic industries, capital goods, medical equipment, services, agriculture, environmental technology and intellectual property. Trade will create new opportunities for the United States and preserve the unmatched strength of the United States in economic, political, and military affairs. "

In the face of economic aggression, the governments of the region capitulate, in some cases after some skirmishes, as they lack the true political will to resist. Only the organization and mobilization of the peoples of the continent can change this state of affairs.

However, it is the duty of jurists committed to popular interests to explain the reality of the facts and the dominant trends and to give some clues in the sphere of their competence to get out of the quagmire, thus helping & shy; to a process of acquisition of conscience of the great majority.

At this level, there are various resources that can be used in order to cut the ties of subordination to the transnational economic power in which many States find themselves, created by this network of treaties:

to) Report the Treaties;
b) Invoke the preeminence of a hierarchically superior norm;
c) Submit the Treaties to constitutionality control;
d) Recover the indeclinable territorial jurisdiction of the national courts;
and) Detect and invoke the existence of insurmountable vices in the celebration and approval of a Treaty that lead to its invalidity;
F) Invoking the nullity of a Treaty concluded by authorities of a State that, in doing so, have exceeded their mandate.
g) Promote popular legislative initiatives, recall or approval referendums against treaties already in force or in the process of negotiation contrary to sovereignty and national interests.

* Alejandro Teitelbaum is representative of the American Association of Jurists in Geneva. Summary of the presentation for the IV Encounter to Fight the FTAA, Havana .- Published in CEICOM Observatorio del Sur.


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