The world economy is still in a dire state. Especially the United Stats and Europe did not manage to fully recover from the financial crisis. We know that and we hear news related to that every day.
One measure both the US and the EU are considering to bolster growth and recovery is the increase of free trade. The USA is pushing for landmark agreements with the European Union and with its Pacific partners. The EU is pursuing trade agreements in Asia as well: India, Thailand, Vietnam, to name a few. And of course, as we all know from the latest State of the Union Speech by President Obama, there is the attempt to a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement.
It is this process that I have commented on behalf of IOGT International very recently (Friday, 10th May, actually). Our basic approach is that free trade is very welcome as an engine for deeper integration and cooperation beyond borders; historically trade has been a powerful driver of human cooperation, cultural understanding and innovation. But it is also clear, in this age of corporate abuse all over the world, that trade liberalization must serve to protect and promote
– the rights of the child, and along with it families and communities;
– public health, and along with it healthy lifestyles and a quality of life years as well as societal development;
and last but not least it should boost in a sustainable way
– the economic productivity of the economy, including small and medium sized enterprises; and
– the skills, abilities, opportunities and the employability of young people, who suffers the most and disproportionately from the current situation.
With these considerations it is clear that alcohol must be kept out of any trade negotiation. It is also clear – and I have addressed this in my comment – that the so called Non-Tarrif Barriers should remain untouched, especially those that protect public health and are put in place with the purpose to prevent harm.
In short, this is my summary of the comment I’ve send on behalf of IOGT International.
I also hope you continue following this and the other processes around the world concerning trade together with me and IOGT International. We simply need to ensure that alcohol is not dealt with like it was an ordinary commodity. Alcohol is no ordinary commodity. And so we, together and heart driven, need to ensure that our decision-makers put people over profit and give higher consideration to Human Rights than to the interests of corporations, like Big Alcohol.
For more information and further reading:
Our comment may be found here: IOGT International Comment on Proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement
The consultation page of the US government: “Your voice in federal decision-making”
An overview about upcoming trade talks the European Union will conduct