Towards an Alternative Trade Regime: What Are Potential Joint Demands By Labour Movements from Around the World?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Andreas BIELER, School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
There have been divisions within the global labour movement over free trade agreements (FTAs), part of an expanded free trade agenda covering not only trade in goods, but also services, trade-related investment measures, intellectual property rights and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. European, export-oriented trade unions have tended to support new FTAs, as they perceived them to be beneficial for “their” companies, thereby securing their members’ jobs. By contrast, labour movements in the Global South have objected as free trade has often signified deindustrialisation and loss of jobs in their countries. In this paper a number of key demands are developed for broader discussion, which can potentially be supported by labour movements from all over the world in the collective struggle for an alternative trade regime.

One set of potential demands is suggested around the re-assertion of national sovereignty including demands for more democratic, participatory ways of decision-making on trade policy as well as the right to food sovereignty. Another set of potential demands is directed against the increasing structural power of transnational capital, undermining the right of people to determine their own way of development.