New EC trade strategy reinforces corporate bias
The Seattle to Brussels (S2B) network believes the new European Commission (EC) trade strategy “Trade for All” is a continuation of the EC’s existing trade strategy: it remains obsessed by serving EU corporate interests.
Trade for All, launched yesterday (Wednesday), prioritises market access for big business. Its key objectives are opening up markets, mainly in countries in the global South, for EU goods, services and investors, continuing a focus on setting regulations outside of multilateral forums, and expanding the role of ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement).
In so doing, the strategy fails to address how EU trade policy must address and be informed by challenges including poverty and inequality, climate change and environmental degradation, and ensuring financial stability and food price stability, among other issues.
The strategy pays lip service to values such as “transparency”, “human rights” and “sustainable development”. Ongoing negotiations in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are similarly framed, in spite of strong criticism that negotiations are not transparent, ignore and threaten to undermine human rights, and in so doing also undermine the new human rights-framed Sustainable Development Goals.
S2B welcomes the announcement that EC will publish its negotiating proposals for all its trade and investment negotiations.
However, in line with recommendations from the EU Ombudsman, S2B believes that the EC must publish the negotiating proposals of its partners, lists of all documents, whether published or un-published, and publication of completed negotiating texts (“consolidated texts”) as soon as they are available. Additionally, S2B believes that the EC should publish its draft negotiating guidelines and lobby contacts.
It is essential that the public, civil society groups and national politicians can see texts before negotiations are concluded and that the EU decision-making process becomes more democratic and transparent too.
Notes to editors:
For more information on the Seattle to Brussels network, visit: https://www.s2bnetwork.org/
For more information on human rights and trade, see a joint statement by 10 UN Special Rapporteurs warning of the threat to human rights from new trade agreements: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16031
For more information on transparency in TTIP, see the statement from EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/press/release.faces/en/58669/html.bookmark
Or comments by EU politicians: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/trade-industry/frances-latest-calls-ttip-transparency-fall-deaf-ears-308652