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Trade and investment policy can and should be more inclusive

The Council of Trade Unions says that a debate on our approach to trade and investment policy is welcome and overdue.

“We want to work with Government on a new deal for trade that works better for communities and working people – not just commercial interests,” says CTU Secretary Sam Huggard.

“Working people support greater interactions with other countries, and trade. We just want international commerce agreements to serve our interests, not make our interests subservient to international commerce.

“Early agreements such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade dealt only with international goods trade and were much more limited in their impact on domestic laws and regulations.

“But that’s not what we’re dealing with now. The focus has extended considerably over the years and encroaches deeply into domestic policy making – and it is the impact on government procurement, economic development, investment, health, environmental protections and other areas that need to be addressed in any review.”

Huggard says that the CTU set out its views on this early last year, and is keen to support the development of a framework for international agreements that is pro-democracy and preserves room for governments to make meaningful decisions in the national interest.