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Global Trade Faces Fragmentation Risks From TPP, TTIP, TiSA

The global trade community faces the risk of fragmentation with the emergence of regional trade agreements, the Kenyan foreign affairs cabinet secretary said at the opening of the WTO's 10th ministerial conference (MC10) Tuesday.

NAIROBI (Sputnik) – The Kenyan capital of Nairobi is hosting some 160 economy ministers among the 6,000 delegates attending the December 15-18 MC10 to define the course of multilateral trade relations in the coming years.

"We are facing the risk of economic fragmentation. Various regional trade agreements are useful and generate welfare effects. They are compliment to trade multilateralism, but they are not substitutes," Amina Mohamed, who chairs the MC10, said.

Mohamed added that trade ministers needed to show "strong political will" to keep the 162-member World Trade Organization united in the face of such risks.

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The United States and the European Union launched secretive trade and services deregulation talks with other countries, outside the framework of the WTO, as the Doha Development Agenda stalled in 2008 amid disagreement between advanced and developing nations over agriculture, services and tariffs.

The proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) between the United States, the European Union and 21 other countries looks to privatize an estimated 70 percent of the world's services economy and free itself of the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership 12-nation trade deal was agreed and signed in October between the United States and representatives of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Rim countries. The final text of the TPP agreement was released to the public in November.

The United States and the European Union are in talks over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, while the 28-nation bloc is negotiating the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada.

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