Friday, July 30, 2004

e) Fair Trade that Protects the Environment, Labor Rights and Consumer Needs
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NAFTA and the WTO makes commercial trade supreme over environmental, labor, and consumer standards and need to be replaced with open agreements that pull-up rather than pull down these standards. These forms of secret autocratic governance and their detailed rules are corporate-managed trade that puts short-term corporate profits as the priority. While global trade is a fact of life, trade policies must be open, democratic and not strip-mine environmental, social and labor standards. These latter standards should have their own international pull up treaties.

The concern for the welfare of those who work on our products is understandable, especially when they work for pennies a day. But is chasing their best option away through strict labor standards truly in their best interest? If the company leaves, they will be left with a worse job. How is this putting their welfare first? Simple – it isn’t.

About environmental standards – while the need to protect the environment is understandable (and there is always the danger that corporations are being subsidized by the government in an inefficient manner by having access to resources on the cheap), it is a well known fact that rich countries protect their environments best, because they have the resources to coexist with nature. Hindering the development of smaller, less fortunate countries by chasing away their trade will likely bring unintentional harm to the environment as well.

Other Interesting Posts on Trade Issues
The Australia Free Trade pact

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