What are FTAO´s views?

Link between Trade and Development

The EU published its Trade, Growth and Development Strategy, a joint initiative of Commissioners De Gucht (Trade) and Piebalgs (Development) in January 2012.

There are commitments to support small producers and fair, organic and ethical trade initiatives,the Fair Trade movement regrets the lack of commitment to mainstream Fair Trade principles across EU policies.

For more information read:

FTAO Briefing note on EU Trade and development strategy, October 2011

FTAO Press release ‘European Commission’s “modern” proposal on trade and development is the same old story


Alternative Trade Mandate

Composed of approximately 50 organisations, the Alternative Trade Mandate is developing an alternative vision of EU trade policy that puts people and planet first. The aim is to present an Alternative Trade Mandate and build a campaign around this document and towards the European Parliament elections in 2014.

The FTAO is a member of the coordination team and the writing group of the Alliance.  For more information and details of the process and documents: www.alternativetrademandate.org.


Public Procurement Reciprocity Initiative (“from which countries can we buy”)

For the first time, the EU has proposed an instrument in the field of international public procurement. This regulation is supposed to govern the access to third country procurement markets of EU goods and services as well as goods and services from those countries to the EU.

While the FTAO acknowledges the need to prevent EU bidders from being outcompeted by low environmental and social standards from third country tenderers, we do not agree with the legislative instrument on reciprocity proposed by the Commission. See our developed position paper here.

On 6 June 2011, the EC issued a public consultation on access of foreign goods, services and companies to EU's public procurement markets. The Fair Trade Advocacy Office submission can be found here.

On 23 March 2012 the EC published its proposal for a regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement and procedures supporting negotiations on access of Union goods and services to the public procurement markets of third countries.


WTO Bali package: A giant step for the WTO, a small step for Fair Trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed last night in Bali a package of measures, possibly the most significant achievement of the WTO since its creation in 1995. The package includes decisions to increase market access opportunities for farmers from Least Developed Countries, in particular cotton farmers, and to temporarily allow governments to take measures to guarantee food security, to be re-discussed in two years´ time.

Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, stated “We welcome the package as a step in the right direction, yet there is a long way to go before WTO rules become a tool to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all”. See more here

Over 50 civil society groups demand a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policies

On 26 November 2013, a European alliance of over 50 civil society organisations launched the Alternative Trade Mandate (ATM), a proposal to make European Union’s trade and investment policy work for people and the planet, not just the profit interests of a few.

“The current trade and investment regime, imposed by the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organisation, isn’t working. Prising markets open for global agri-business is wiping out small farmers and is a major cause of hunger. The deregulation of financial services through free trade agreements impedes tough regulation of the financial sector, paving the way for the next disastrous financial crisis. We need to break away from this corporate driven agenda,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament, who came to Brussels to support the launch of the ATM.

The new 20-page mandate demands trade and investment policies that, among other things, allow:

- binding social and environmental regulations to be strengthened, and full transparency in global value chains.
- a fair distribution of income within global value chains, guaranteeing a stable and decent income for producers and workers, and affordable prices for consumers (particularly for necessities such as food and medicines).
- food sovereignty to be respected, allowing countries and communities to prioritise local and regional food systems.

On several areas, such as food, work, money, and raw materials, detailed proposals for change are outlined. The mandate also calls on the EU to hold European corporations accountable for human rights violations, environmental destruction, tax avoidance, and tax evasion elsewhere.

Furthermore, the ATM proposes a new process for initiating, negotiating and finalising trade and investment agreements, giving national parliaments and civil society a stronger role and thereby rolling back policy-capture by big business.

“EU trade deals are negotiated behind closed doors in the interests of a few rich corporations. The people who are affected by these deals have never been asked what they really need. We want an open and democratic process, controlled by the people of Europe and their elected representatives, rather than unelected technocrats and corporate lobby groups,” said Pia Eberhardt from the Corporate Europe Observatory, a member of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance.

See more here.

To watch a video from the event click here (in Spanish).


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