Western Europe and North America are the epitome of Western Culture, Capitalism and First World. They engulf a community of countries mostly Caucasians and Christians which have become main destinations for immigrants coming from all sort of backgrounds. Outside of Australia, New Zealand, Israel, South Korea and Japan, the bulk of those nations are in those two sides of the world which now are dealing face to face with a Free Trade Agreement in the shape of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (Hilary, John. 2013) (TTIP).
A lot has been said about the TTIP due to its consequences to a group of nations with great influence in the World scene. There are a lot of grey areas in it, many circumstances where the balance is dangerously inclined to one side, different approaches to certain fields such as agriculture, intellectual property and working conditions (Hilary, John.2013). The debate is ongoing and it is between two heavyweights blocs who are used to be on the same side but what happens when the ones agreeing are David and Goliath?
There is a series of Free Trading Agreements between nations and that normally occur when they are neighbors or where they belong to the same region and share language, culture or a geographical location (Daniel-Kagbare, T. E.201). However, there are all sort of FTA’s between the Super Rich Club and countries that don’t even qualify to be a BRICK. If the heated discussion about the TTIP is delicate to say the least, what is expected of an FTA between the EU and Nicaragua or Honduras? or between the US and Colombia or El Salvador? South Korea and Peru? China and Morocco? The balance in those cases is more one-sided and due to the overpowering interest from one of the countries, factoring media manipulation and corruption in the equation, the agreement turns into a surrender declaration trade-wise.
The NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) has not lived to what it was expected of it. It did not raised the standards of Mexicans and only has benefited the large business in the US side while their small companies and the manufacturing sector was affected negatively (Barufaldi, Dan 2014).
Evaluating the effectiveness of an FTA based on the benefits for both sides and fair conditions is not an exact science, almost belonging to an Utopian domain reserved for nations that share ground in many aspects and that are relatively similar, at least financially. Some industries are subsidised in one side, others have advantages due to cultural and geographical circumstances and the list of factors tipping the scales in one direction is long (Chomo, victoria 2002).
The whole neoliberal concept of an FTA seems very aggressive to one sector of the opinion because it gives all those powers to the free trade and minimises the state controls but more than aggressive it is actually naive. It is naive to think that opening the frontiers will widen the market for third world countries when actually they will be overpowered by the giant Chinese factories, it is naive to think that all the nations have the similar laws to protect their workers, it is naive to assume the world is an homogenous landscape where regions can knock down their barriers and slowly blend into each other without cracking social, political and specially, financial wounds.
They have proved not being the promoted panacea they supposed to be but more like an expansion of the market battlefield with casualties coming from both sides. To have winners, most likely there will be losers. We have been warned.
Barufaldi, Dan. (2014) NAFTA’s Winners And Losers. Available at: http:/www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/north-american-free-trade-agreement.asp Accessed: 27 November 2014.
Chomo, victoria (2002) Free trade agreements between developing and industrialized countries comparing the U.S.-Jordan FTA with Mexico’s experience under NAFTA. DIANE Publishing.
Daniel-Kagbare, T. E.(2014) A Dictionary of Economics and Commerce. Authorhouse.
Hilary, John .(2013) THE TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (A Chapter forderegulation an attack on jobs, an end to democracy.) Available at: http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/more/inform/18078-what-is-ttip Accessed: 27 November 2014.