News / 29 November 2013

It's time for fair and sustainable trade!

Last week, the Alternative Trade Mandate (ATM) was officially launched in Brussels. The ATM is an alliance of over 50 organisations from across Europe, reacting to the current European trade and investment policies. As the name suggests, the ATM comes up with an alternative: fairer and more sustainable trade policies that truly respect people, the environment and democracy. Trade policies that take into account the interests of all stakeholders, including trade unions, farmers, activists in the field of environment and/or human rights, and networks that are committed to fair trade. In the run-up to the European elections an active European campaign will bring the Alternative Trade Mandate to the attention of organisations, the public and parliamentarians. SOMO, TNI and Both ENDS, united in the ‘Fair Green and Global Alliance,’ are joining the campaign in the Netherlands.


Why do we need an alternative?

"The Alternative Trade Mandate is not against trade in general but it doesn’t agree with current trade and investment policies," explains Both ENDS colleague Willemijn Rooijmans. "The decision-making on trade and investment is often undemocratic. Decisions are often made behind closed doors where only the small elite’s interests are taken into account. The majority of the world population hardly benefits from trade and even suffers from it. This is because international trade rules and conventions often open the door to violations of environment and human rights." Members of the Alternative Trade Mandate have drawn up a document with alternatives for ten critical issues relating to trade, such as food, democracy, labour and climate.


ATM launch 26 and 27 November in Brussels

As the European elections will be held in May 2014, the organisations joining the ATM initiative met in Brussels last week to discuss the way the campaign will be set up during the coming months. “Some Members of the European Parliament already support the initiative. In their speeches and comments last week it was quite obvious that they consider the Alternative Trade Mandate to be a viable and good alternative.”


What is being done in the Netherlands?

"Several organizations across Europe are committed to a campaign on a national level. SOMO, TNI and Both ENDS, united in the 'Fair, Green and Global Alliance, are campaigning in the Netherlands. Together with other Dutch organisations with corresponding objectives, we join forces to promote and disseminate the ATM. Eventually we want to convince the Dutch candidates for the European Parliament to sign a pledge in which they declare their commitment to fairer and more sustainable European trade policies. "



European website ATM


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