Expert meeting on International Trade and Development
This one-day meeting, Towards a Progressive Model for International Trade and Development: North- South Trade Relations and the Future of Multilateralism, is a step in a joint project of a consortium of Brussels-based entities from the political center-left, aiming at formulating policy recommendations for a “progressive model for international trade and development” with a view to influence future trade and development policies of the EU and beyond. The consultative meeting is organised with the support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
Over the past years, we have seen a new wave of criticism against further trade integration, or globalisation more generally. Critics assert that globalisation has created winners and losers, and that benefits and costs of increasing trade and investment ties have been unevenly distributed, both between and within countries, contributing to rising inequality. They further claim that trade rules are unfair and trade negotiations nontransparent, favoring the interests of big corporations, unduly limiting policy space for developing countries, and curbing the sovereign democratic right of governments to rule in the public interest.
Debates have been particularly long and substantive within the “progressive camp”. Some of the most vocal sources of resistance to trade agreements - also those negotiated by political leaders from the left - were left-wing groups, labour unions, NGOs and social movements.
In order to bridge these divisions, overcome deadlocks and continue to harness the benefits of international trade and investment, the flaws in the current system have to be properly identified and corrected. This calls for a reorientation of the international trade and investment regime towards greater fairness, inclusiveness and sustainability, and changes in the way we approach trade negotiations and trade agreements.
The meeting will be held under the Chatham House rule.
April 13, 2018