Too often the EU exploits countries in the Global South by forcing them to accept terms which perpetuate their impoverishment.
At the same time, trade deals with wealthy countries including the USA and Canada impose policies upon European citizens for which we have never voted. The current EU/US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), threatens to weaken protections for workers, consumers, citizens or the environment in the EU, its member states or trading partners. Health, workers’ rights, consumer rights, women’s rights, indigenous rights, environmental protection, data protection, agriculture and food should be protected by our trade deals, not sold off. Some areas, including health, pre-18 education, and water, should be protected entirely from involvement in any trade negotiations.
So Scottish Greens argue for a different approach. We support fair trade, not free trade. We support the rights of impoverished countries to protect their industries and their workers and to determine their own economic futures. Where goods can be supplied locally, trade for trade’s sake can be counterproductive – centralising power in the hands of middle-men and depending on fossil fuels. Where goods cannot be supplied locally, we should ensure fair exchange.
Our MEP will:
- Oppose trade deals, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which allow private companies to take legal action against governments for democratically chosen laws and rules.
- Argue that only national parliaments and the European parliament, rather than the Commission, can initiate trade deals.
- Improve transparency in trade deals through involving civil society, trade unions and NGOs; and ensuring that a human rights and sustainability assessment is carried out before the agreement is signed and ratified.
- Campaign for a global trade system based on solidarity where elected governments should be able to regulate imports, exports and investments; push for trade systems which would allow impoverished countries to protect, develop and subsidise their own industries, set their own regulations, and encourage local, internal, and regional trade as and when they see fit.
- Push the EU to abandon European tariff escalation on processed tropical products – helping producers and companies in exporting developing countries to earn the added value for processing the products they have grown.
- Push for fairer distribution of incomes along global supply chains; and mandatory reporting by large companies of their global supply chains and of specific data relating to their environmental and social impact.
- Seek to amend EU treaties to allow and encourage capital controls to ensure that huge corporations cannot use capital flows to drive down standards.
- Ensure that companies incorporated or doing business in the EU can be held legally accountable for the actions of their subsidiaries overseas.
- Ensure that companies selling products in the EU have a duty to ensure transparency in their supply chains, that there are no breaches of human rights or labour standards in the production of their goods; and that trade unions are allowed to organise in their work places.
- Tighten EU competition law by allowing member states to prevent foreign acquisition of key industries, through better monitoring of predatory commercial practices and by strengthening the mergers & acquisitions functions.
- Campaign for the EU to use its powers, as a trade bloc, to restrict the arms trade.