Ecuador forced to accept a free trade agreement without negotiations.

Between 9 and 13 of June, the third round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the European Union and Ecuador has being held in Brussels.

In fact there is little to negotiate because the EU does not leave Ecuador any option than to accede to the EU-Colombia/Peru Free trade agreement. The Seattle to Brussels network denounces this power politics of the EU.

Four years ago, Ecuador and Bolivia decided to step aside of the on going negotiations for a trade agreement between Andean countries and the European Union while Colombia and Peru continued the negotiations. One of the main arguments used by the Ecuadorian government, was that the Constitution requires to negotiate an agreement that promotes national development and respect rights of nature, for that reason, the government wasn?t allowed to negotiate on specific issues, which were part of the agreement.

The Ecuadorian government?s concerns were related to the impacts of the agreement on their right to support national economy and subsidy strategic sectors or small and medium enterprises as well as the possibility of protecting its biodiversity. Aspects of the negotiation like national treaty clause, public procurement, settlement requirements, intellectual property would limit their national policies.

Even when the European Commission mandate included respect for democracy and strengthening of regional integration in the Andean region, the EU decided to continue with the negotiations when Ecuador and Bolivia expressed their concerns on the speed and content of the agreement.

As a result of this process and the previous decision of Colombia and Peru to negotiate a FTA with USA, the regional integration within the CAN has been weakened during last years, when agreements with countries or regions out of the Andean Community of Nations have been prioritized over internal CAN decisions.

After the multi-party agreement was signed with Colombia and Peru, the European Commission continued pressuring the Ecuadorian government to bring them back to the negotiations, using different instruments of its external policy. In the past, the agreement on banana tariffs (main exports product) was used as a way to press the government to negotiate.

But the recent reform of the Generalised System of Preferences has effectively pushed Ecuador back to the negotiating table. Countries with an annual income per capita of more than about US$ 4000 no longer enjoy preferential market access to the EU. As a result Ecuador will face increased tariffs on exports to the EU after December 2014. Pushing developing countries into negotiating reciprocal free trade agreements with the EU has been a deliberate consideration of the GSP reform.

While Ecuador has been left with no option to maintain its exports to the EU than to enter into negotiations for a free trade agreement; there is in fact very little to negotiate because the EU also does not leave Ecuador another choice than to accede to the existing EU-Colombia/Peru agreement.

Instead of respecting national policies and the Ecuadorian constitution and negotiate according to its priorities, Ecuadorian government can only discuss the time schedules for the liberalisation of investments, government procurement and the trade in goods and services, but not the essence of principles, rules and obligations written into the body of the agreement.

Free Trade Agreements reinforce the current economic model of international division of labour that has concentrated Ecuadorian production on exports of raw materials and agro-industrial products. These sectors are characterized by the exploitation of natural resources, displacement of communities from their territories and precarious labour conditions.

Additionally, through these agreements, governments like the Ecuadorian, lose the possibility to decide on their own development trajectory in the future. This FTA together with the Bilateral Investment Agreements constitutes the architecture of impunity that gives more rights to corporations while they are allowed to increase poverty and violate human rights.

For the EC, this agreement is part of the broader trade and investment policy that is presented as an instrument to come out to the crisis, through providing international rights to corporations while people and environment from both regions are being affected. In the global context, the expansion of agreements with different countries in the South is part of the competition among bigger economies (including China) for new markets and access to natural resources.

As European civil society organizations, members of the Seattle to Brussels network, we denounce the EU’s use of its dominant economic position to bully developing countries into its accepting its offensive free trade schemes that do not serve the their sustainable development interests.

Download the statement.




Open Letter of civil society against Investor Privileges in TTIP

16 Dec. 2013 – As a new round of negotiations starts in Wasshington, DC, over 100 civil society groups and social movements from Europe and the USA have signed on an open letter that was sent to the chief negotiators of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Ambassador Michael Froman (US Trade Representative) and Karel de Gucht (EU Trade Commissioner). NGOs, social movements, consumers organisations, trade unions, environmentalist groups and other civil society groups, raise their voices with one joint demand: to exclude any Investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism from the TTIP (…)

No to a corporate driven agreement

The Government shutdown in the US have put the negotiations of the EU-US trade deal on hold and the 2nd round of negotiation, planned for the week 6-11 October, 2013, has been cancelled. But the risks of the agreement remain. With an open letter to President Obama, EU Commission President Barroso and EU Council President Van Rompuy, more than 80 organisations from Europe and the US have been raising their voice. The letter shows their concerns about the coming negotiations and state their opposition to the use of behind-closed-door trade negotiations to change and lower public interest measures for the sake of commercial interests (Read or download the letter and the list of signing organisations)

Call to Stop the TISA Negotiations!

16 September 2013 – As governments meet in Geneva to negotiate a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), 341 organizations representing hundreds of millions of people from nearly every developing and developed country, called on governments to abandon the talks. Among the endorsers were 42 major international and regional networks, such as Public Services International (PSI), UNI Global Union, the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU), the IndustriALL Global Union, the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF), and the ATTAC European network. Read or download the open letter in English, French or Spanish.

Transatlantic statement opposing excessive investor rights in CETA

6 February 2013 – EU – Canada negotiations – Ahead of a two-day meeting in Ottawa between European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, where the two hoped to move forward the negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic a´nd Trade Agreement (CETA), a number of labour, environmental, indigenous, women’s, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations from Europe, Canada and Quebec representing more than 65 million people are demanding that Canada and the EU stop negotiating an excessive and controversial investor rights chapter in the proposed CETA. Full statement and list of signing organisations available here. Statement also available in French.

People’s Summit of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe against EU free trade and investment policies

The social movements and political organizations of the Latin American continent and of Europe met during the People’s Summit in Santiago de Chile from January 25th through 27th, at the same time as the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC and the European Union (EU). Read the final declaration (in Spanish) or look at the pictures of the summit.

Asia-Europe People Forum – Vientiane, LAOS 16-19 October 2012

On 5-6 November, 2012 the 9th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM9) took place in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Under the theme Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity, leaders of 49 member states and governments in Asia and Europe exchanged views, priorities and plans on regional and global issues that are of common interest to both regions at the summit. Prior to and in conjunction with ASEM9, the Asia-Europe People?s Forum (AEPF9) holded its 9th biennial People?s Forum on 16-19 October. Read or download the final declaration.

Call on Governments to Strengthen, Not Weaken, UNCTAD’s Role

Sign-on Letter with 38 International and 137 National Organizations from Across the Globe. Delivered to Negotiators at UNCTAD XIII in Doh. Read or download in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

Joint Social Conference 2012

On 29th and 30th March 2012 the second Joint Social Conference took place in Brussels. The participants approved the following declaration: Resisting Financial Dictatorship – Reclaiming Democracy and Social Rights – Political Declaration & Coordinated Action- JSC 2012.

Alternative World Water Forum

DECLARATION OF THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE ALTERNATIVE WORLD WATER FORUM IN MARSEILLE, 14 ? 17 march 2012. As members of the global water justice movement gathered together in Marseille in March 2012 at FAME (Alternative World Water Forum), we have a shared vision of water: water is a commons, not a commodity (read or download the declaration in English, French or Spanish)

Call for an Alternative Investment Model

Final declaration of the Week of Action against BITs and for an Alternative Investment Regime. Read or download it in English, Spanish or French, and se the lsit of the signatures up to date 6th December 2011. To sign this statement send an email to Cecilia Olivet (TNI)


Europe’s resource reduction plan doesn’t measure up. Press release of Friends Of the Earth Europe on the EU Commission Communication “Roadmap to a resource efficient Europe” on 20.09.2011.

S2B Statement on the approval of investment negotiating mandates

On Monday 12 September the General Affairs Council approved negotiating mandates for investment protection chapters in free trade agreements with Canada, India and Singapore. European Member States refuse necessary reform, ignore the will of the European Parliament and insist that future EU investment agreements copy their bad practices. Read or download the S2B Statement and the text of the mandates.

Nyeleni Europe 2011: European Forum for Food Sovereignty

Europe?s people are now experiencing the first structural adjustment policies which governments are imposing on their populations that until now have been imposed on peoples in other regions in particular the Global South; this with the sole interest of saving capitalism and those who benefit from it (private banks, investment groups and transnational corporations). All signs are that in the near future these antisocial policies will become more severe and extensive ()

S2B Statement after European Parliament resolution on international investments

Statement by the Seattle to Brussels Network 6th April 2011: “European Parliament Resolution on international investment not strong enough to end threat to democratic governance and public interests”. Today the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the future European investment policy. This resolution comes as a response to a Communication by the Commission following the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty that has added Foreign Direct Investment to the exclusive common commercial policy of the EU (…)

No New Corporate Privileges – Change EU Investment Policy Now!

Online petition for individuals in English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian

Just EU Investment Policy now!

European civil society calls for a European international investment policy which promotes sustainable development and decent work – Sign on statement in (English ItalianFrenchSpanishDutchGerman)- Updated list of the organisations and Networks who signed this statement.

EU Canada Negotiations

European civil society calls for a halt to negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada

EU India Negotiations

Last chance to prevent onslaught on people’s rights and livelihoods! Civil society groups call for an immediate halt to the India-EU trade negotiations – October 2010

Asia Europe People’s Forum 2010

Call to Action – Challenging and Eroding Corporate Power – Building States of Citizens for Citizens, 5th October 2010

EU Investment Policy

Reclaiming public interest in Europe’s international investment policy – Civil society statement on the future of Europe’s international investment policy – (English, Spanish) – July 2010


EU Latin America and Caribbean

Final Declaration of the Peolpls’ Summit Linking Alternatives IV, Madrid 19th May 2010 – (ENGLISHFRANCAISEPORTUGUESDEUTSCHITALIANO)

Archive 2008

Archive 2007

  • Stop EPAs!, Global Civil Society Statement, 27 September 2007 (English Français)
  • Declaration of European and Korean Social Movements and Civil Society Organisations on the First EU-Korea FTA Round, 19 September 2007
  • No to a New FTA with the EU! – Declaration of Andean and European Social Movements on the EU-CAN negotiations, September 2007 (Castellano, English, Français)

S2B & its members on Global Europe