A trade agenda for the people

9 April 2018

While the USA and China are stepping into one the potential biggest fights on trade measures in decades, Friends of the Earth Europe is presenting concrete proposals for an innovative trade agenda that serves citizens and the environment.

The paper Setting course for sustainable trade – a new trade agenda that serves people and the environment provides a fresh analysis of globalisation and trade agreements, and lists building blocks for a radical shift in EU trade and investment policy and treaties.

Many rules governing trade and investment today hinder efforts to achieve more sustainable economies. We urgently need a new trade regime which can help address global challenges and tackle problems like accelerating climate change, a broken agricultural model and loss of trust in democratic processes, rather than aggravating them.

 

Some key proposals for a fair and sustainable trade system outlined in the paper:

  • Promoting and fostering the trade of sustainable goods and services rather than focusing on increasing trade flows;
  • Creating a framework to hold corporations to account internationally rather than providing investors with more privileges;
  • Improving standards internationally rather than facilitating their weakening by corporate lobbyists;
  • Strengthening the implementation of international agreements on climate change and sustainability rather than creating trade rules that override them;
  • Fostering local economies rather than dispersing production and consumption ever more across the globe;
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture and promoting regional trade rather than a global trade in agricultural commodities;
  • Submitting trade negotiations to democratic scrutiny rather than negotiating the agreements in secret.

Mute Schimpf, food and trade campaigner, said: "We call on the European Commission, the European Parliament, national governments and parliaments to radically change the direction of trade and to put sustainability and equity at the heart of European trade policy. Until this happens, new unfair and unsustainable trade agreements – whether already concluded or still under negotiation – should be rejected. Only with this kind of fundamental change in how Europe trades can we construct a more democratic, fair and sustainable Europe."

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