International trade and investment rules shape how trade takes place and determine how governments can support sectors such as small enterprise or agriculture. They make a huge difference to the livelihoods of millions of workers and producers.
Traidcraft Exchange works with partners in developing countries to identify problems with the current system and develop evidence-based proposals for how the benefits from trade can be shared more equally.
The outcome of the EU referendum and the UK’s prospective withdrawal has already created uncertainty for our trading partners in developing countries. The fall in the value of sterling has made their products more expensive in the UK and has reduced the value of the aid, investment and remittances they receive. When the UK officially leaves the EU, there are some serious risks to the livelihoods and working conditions of farmers and workers but also the chance to develop a more pro-development trade policy
We are calling on the government to ensure that developing countries do not pay the price for Brexit by:
- Providing non-reciprocal duty-free, quota-free access to imports from economically vulnerable countries.
- Adopting trade policies that support the UK’s commitments to the Sustinable Development Goals, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and action on climate change. This includes ensuring that future trade agreements with developed countries do not undermine developing country partners.
- Committing to the highest levels of transparency and scrutiny in all future trade negotiations.
Find out more about the Brexit campaign on the campaigns page.
UK investment treaties provide exceptional privileges for investors which allow them to sue governments through unaccountable tribunals, for introducing policies that might impact on their profits. These ‘investor to state dispute settlement’ mechanisms have been used to bypass established courts to challenge policies on health protection, minimum wages, environmental protection and human rights.
We are calling on the government to review the UK’s investment protection policy with a view to ultimately terminating these out of date treaties and adopting investment policies that support sustainable development and protect human rights.
Our relevant reports can be found here.
Our work in these areas is led by Matt Grady, Senior Policy Adviser. Matt can be contacted at Matt.Grady@traidcraft.org