Despite the potential tensions between the two approaches, it appears that multilateral and bilateral/regional trade agreements will remain characteristics of the global economy. However, both the WTO and agreements such as NAFTA are controversial among groups such as alter-globalists, who argue that such agreements serve the interests of multinationals and not workers, while free trade was a proven method of improving economic performance and increasing overall income. To counter this opposition, pressure has been exerted for labour and environmental standards to be included in these trade agreements. Labour standards contain provisions relating to the minimum wage and working conditions, while environmental standards would prevent trade if there were fears of environmental damage. The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking area and sometimes called the European Community even before it was renamed in 1993) was an international organization created by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The aim was to promote economic integration, including a common market, among its six founding members, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. A definite prognosis is that international trade agreements will continue to be controversial. One of the motivations for these standards is the fear that unrestricted trade will lead to a “race to the bottom” in labour and environmental standards, as multinationals around the world seek low wages and lax environmental legislation to reduce costs. Yet there is no empirical evidence of such a race. In fact, trade generally involves the transfer of technology to developing countries, which allows for an increase in wage rates, as the Korean economy – among many others – has demonstrated since the 1960s. In addition, increased revenues allow cleaner production technologies to become affordable.
Replacing scooters made on Indian territory in India with scooters imported from Japan, for example, would improve air quality in India. Trade unions and environmentalists in rich countries have been the most active in seeking labour and environmental standards. The danger is that the application of such standards could simply be an excuse for protectionist protectionism in rich countries, which would harm workers in poor countries. In fact, people in poor, capitalist or working-class countries were extremely hostile to the imposition of such standards. For example, the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle was partially unsuccessful because developing countries opposed the Clinton administration`s attempt to include labour standards in multilateral agreements. The IMF is committed to promoting global growth and economic stability. It advises and finances members in economic difficulty and also works with developing countries to help them achieve macroeconomic stability and reduce poverty. This is because private international capital markets operate imperfectly and that many countries have limited access to financial markets.