Assessment of trade and investment development impacts

Our demands

  • To ensure developing countries retain maximum policy flexibility in their trade and investment policies there should be no negotiations or signing of any binding trade and investment agreements including at the WTO;
  • A moratorium on Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) cases, and non-implementation or violation of current trade and investment commitments, including Intellectual property rights rules through the TRIPS and TRIPS plus agreements, if these conflict with public policy objectives including economic and health objectives, during the pandemic;
  • Ensure an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and hold them accountable for human rights violations by supporting the ongoing negotiations for the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human rights under the Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.
The dimension of Gender Equality

Through free trade and investment agreements and treaties (bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral), many state policies have been liberalized, granting free movement to capital, unlimited growth and power to multinational corporations and heavy dependency on the Global Value Chain (GVC). This occurs more often than not, at the expense of small and medium size businesses, local and domestic industries and the regulatory capacity of the state, everywhere in the world but especially so in developing countries, to the detriment of the environment, human rights and gender equality. This pandemic has revealed firstly, the precarity of the GVC, with its collapse around the world; secondly, the myth of «free trade”, as countries introduced endless trade barriers and began hoarding of many goods and supplies immediately when the pandemic started, at a time when the flow of many of these necessary good and supplies should be ensured more than ever so people can get access to PPEs, medical supplies and food; and finally, at a time when governments should be having the necessary and relevant domestic policy space to determine how best to tackle and deal with the pandemic, many governments are fearful of the consequences from the trade and investment regimes their actions can bring.

The Waiver Proposal submitted by Eswatini, India, Kenya, and South Africa at the WTO, and is currently under discussion at the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) awoke a discussion that gathered 58 women’s rights organizations and networks that demanded that WTO member states support the unconditional adoption of the Waiver Proposal, which is critical to expanding the access of medical products vital to the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19 in the global South, otherwise constituting a disproportionate burden on women and gender non-conforming people.

Read the letter

 

 

Big techs interests are strongly invested in the trade arena. Deborah James explains us in her article how the Digital Trade Rules are written by and for them.

 

The urgency is felt more acutely since the chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills from Colombia, appears to have increased the pace of negotiations through his latest revised draft consolidated text on prohibiting fisheries subsidies that appears to be heavily tilted against the interests of developing countries. Read the details in this report by Third World Network, in TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues 4 November 2020.