Following the failure of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations to achieve corporate demands, investors have pushed for deregulation of investment in various fora, including through bilateral and regional agreements.
This 'forum-hopping' avoids the risks of putting all of the deregulation eggs into one basket. Another tactic associated with forum-hopping is 'leap-frogging' – that is, establishing greater promotion and protection of foreign investment in one forum (for example, a bilateral or regional agreement) and then attempting to match, or exceed, those standards in other fora.
There are currently more than 2800 bilateral investment treaties that protect foreign investments, but contain no social and environmental protections for the citizens of the countries involved. Even regional free trade agreements like NAFTA tend to aim at protecting investments as much as freeing up trade. A WTO investment treaty would not replace these agreements but reinforce and augment them.
Many bilateral and regional trade agreements also incorporate some form of privatization.