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Social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

Clauses concerning environmental, human rights, social or Corporate Social Responsibility standards increasingly play a role in the negotiations of trade agreements the EU is conducting on a bilateral and multilateral level. The liberal and democrat conviction of liberalizing global markets often seems to contradict the respect for these standards. The increased role of the European Parliament in approving EU Trade Deals confers upon it new powers and gives a particular importance to the ALDE seminar organised today on "the role of social and environmental norms for international trade agreements". With the participation of high level experts, members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Commission, the seminar will take stock of the diverse arguments of either side of this debate and will try to find possible solutions to the diverging goals within trade negotiations.  Catherine BEARDER (LibDem, UK), co-organiser for the event said: "I believe that freedom, fairness, and sustainability must be central to the EU's trade agenda. With the new powers which the Parliament has under Lisbon, it is important for Liberal and Democrat  MEPs to ensure that trade objectives are not pursued at the expense of the environment or human rights. At the same time we must ensure that the Union remains competitive. I hope that this seminar will help us in ALDE to formulate a balanced and fair position on trade".