International trade & globalisation

International trade & globalisation

We are the driving force behind a progressive trade policy, defining new rules for globalisation.

A truly progressive trade policy must strive to build a more transparent, democratic global trade system which benefits the many and not the few. Trade agreements can risk lowering standards, but with the right approach they can instead be an opportunity to protect and strengthen our high labour and environmental standards and our way of life for the future.

In the EU-Canada comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), the Socialists and Democrats secured agreements on many progressive priorities. We led the drive to settle trade disputes in a transparent and fair way, and got the private arbitration system replaced with the investment court system. Instead of decisions being made solely by lawyers, they will be made by highly-qualified judges and instead of meetings behind closed doors, the proceedings will be more transparent and the rulings subject to review. We also defended governments’ rights to regulate and legislate in the public interest. With CETA there will be no lowering of our EU standards: they will always apply as the absolute minimum. Public services will not be touched and workers’ rights will be protected. In future trade agreements there will be no going back on the progressive achievements we achieved in CETA.

1) We can work together at a European level and with progressive partners around the world. As companies and capital are now transnational, our efforts to set out rules for these issues must be on the same scale. If we act as individual nation-states we will become pawns of the big multinational corporations, trapped in a race to the bottom. The EU is a trade giant. If the EU uses its influence to the full we can negotiate fair and progressive trade relations and fight unfair practices like dumping that undermine European jobs.

2) We need rules to ensure that trade is not only free but also fair. Trade deals are a way to negotiate and shape these rules and standards for the future. Our European environmental, social, labour and democratic standards must always apply as the absolute minimum in any trade agreement. There are already some global labour and environmental standards but they must be strengthened and sanctions must be enforced if they are not met.

3) We can improve worker’s rights and human rights and strengthen the fight against climate change around the world by looking at the whole global value chain. Corporate social responsibility must be strengthened through mandatory due diligence.

4) Protecting European jobs by fighting unfair dumping policies must be a priority. We are in favour of stronger trade defence tools to tackle dumping effectively and we must choose our trade partners wisely by looking at their track record. Workers disadvantaged by changing global trade patterns – especially in manufacturing – must be offered help to adapt through new training and employment opportunities.

We want to define new rules for globalisation and spread the benefits of trade more widely. Because globalisation needs fair rules.