Issues / Labor, Trade, & Finance
The Asia/Pacific region is the geopolitical center of the struggle for world power.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sets guidelines for the elimination of most trade and investment barriers between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico over a 15-year period.
Since the early 1980s Washington has sought to break down all barriers to U.S. trade and investment in Mexico.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a wholly owned government corporation established in 1971, provides taxpayer-backed and taxpayer-funded loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to businesses for investments in politically risky countries.
Today, member countries number 125 (nearly the whole world except China, some former communist countries, and a number of small nations) and WTO rules apply to over 90 percent of international trade.
For 20 years the gap has been widening between the level of economic development in Africa and every other area of the world.
A fundamental challenge facing policymakers and activists is how to set and enforce rules to protect workers from repression, exploitation, and danger.
The last fifteen years have seen an unprecedented decline in the standard of living of the worlds rural poor, and a related upsurge in both internal and international migration as people search for options.
In promoting structural adjustment, the U.S. has concentrated on short-term profits for businesses and narrow diplomatic gain.
The economic crisis in Mexico has dampened enthusiasm in the U.S. for the extension of free-trade agreements throughout the Americas.