ISSUE AREA: TRADE

NETWORK believes trade policies based only on national, economic, and corporate self-interest fail to promote the common good. Global economic justice requires trade policies that serve people and protect the environment through sustainable development.
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Our Position

As global leaders, the United States has a responsibility to uphold the common good rather than cater to the special interests. To be a good global neighbor, U.S. trade policy should protect the environment, workers, and other vulnerable populations.  As Pope Francis reminds us, we must say no to “an economy of exclusion.” The rules of the global economy must be rules that work for the benefit of all, rather than rules that work for a privileged few.  At its core, the goal of U.S. trade policy should be to promote sustainable development – environmental, economic and social well-being for today and tomorrow – that mutually benefits all members of society.

NETWORK Advocates for Federal Policies That:

Create an economy that serves people and protects the environment, not corporate profits

Trade rules should create fair and enforceable standards for trade and investment systems—ones that are transparent, uphold human rights, and do not preference corporate rights over the dignity of workers and the health and safety of people. Trade rules must also ensure high standards of environmental protection of our increasingly fragile natural resources and promote sustainable development practices around the world.

Promote food security to eradicate poverty

Governments must continue their efforts to alleviate global hunger and malnutrition.  The United Nations estimates that 795 million people worldwide are still undernourished and suffer from significant levels of hunger. Trade policy must complement, not constrain, a commitment to food security, focused on solutions that help people feed themselves.

Give workers around the world the right to bargain collectively and create enforceable standards to eradicate unjust labor practices

Trade rules should enhance workers’ rights in the U.S., establish laws where none exist abroad, and promote similar practices globally by supporting stable jobs with decent wages, protecting workers’ rights to organize, and promoting worker health and safety.  Upholding human rights and enforceable standards to eradicate human slavery and child labor should be at the center of any trade negotiation.

Provide access to life-saving medicine and support indigenous knowledge

Trade rules should protect public health by creating intellectual property (IP) regulations that promote access to essential medicines and protection against the piracy of indigenous knowledge. The knowledge of indigenous communities should be protected because it is based on intimate understanding of the environment and has significantly contributed to global knowledge, particularly in the area of medicines.

Establish fair and just courts to resolve trade disputes

Trade policy should guarantee accountability through robust and transparent dispute resolution mechanisms that protect the rights of citizens against powerful corporate interests.  Investment treaties should not be used to undermine a nation’s ability to protect against health and worker safety protections or environmental degradation of natural resources.

From the Advocacy Toolbox:

Policy Solutions
  • Reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Protect Human Rights Abroad
  • 21st Century Trade Policy