Trade and trade agreements are necessary if economies and societies are to flourish.
However, we need to break with the current free trade regime. Dominated by the
interests of rich countries, large landowners in the Global South and multinational
companies, this regime has for far too long facilitated the depletion of natural resources, climate change and the violation of human. Small-scale farmers and workers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are also the victims of this race to the bottom on the world market.
The reform of the international trade system is, like the global corona crisis, a worldwide problem that we can only address effectively through a joint effort. The Netherlands has the ambition to lead in this and the potential to do so.
However, if the Netherlands wants to fulfil this role, it must give up on business as usual and bring about a new generation of trade agreements. International trade should occur in the service of people, animals and the environment, rather than at their expense. This booklet by the Trade Differently coalition shows not only that the change is possible and necessary, but especially how we can bring it about.
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International trade agreements often have far-reaching consequences not only for the economy of a country, but also for people and the environment. It is primarily the most vulnerable groups who suffer most from these agreements.
Investment treaties must be inclusive, sustainable and fair. That means that they must not put the interests of companies before those of people and their living environment.
News / 2 April 2014
Saying NO! to free trade agreements
Today, on the 2nd of April, activists from Africa and Europe are staging a protest action in front of the European Parliament in Brussels to make the voices of the poor and marginalised citizens heard. Holding banners and chanting slogans to the beat of djembe drums, they asked the African and European governments to prioritise peoples’ rights and interest in their trade deals and particularly, in the EU trade and development policies with Africa. Why do they protest at this particular moment and what is Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS doing there?
Publication / 31 December 2020
Publication / 21 September 2015
News / 11 December 2015
What are we going to do at the WTO-conference in Nairobi?
Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, will be the epicenter of international trade from 15 to 18 December 2015. The representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which currently has 162 member countries, will come together to negotiate. The different countries tend to have very different and often conflicting interests, which makes it difficult to reach agreements. Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS travels with Minister Ploumen as an official adviser and mediator from civil society. His role is to inform the Minister about the views and interests of civil society organisations around the world, in order for her to take these positions into consideration during the negotiations. We asked Ilge some clarifying questions.
Publication / 10 March 2016
Publication / 7 November 2018
News / 14 September 2017
What to think of the EU’s Multilateral Investment Court
Remember the widespread protests against trade agreements TTIP and CETA? One of the main worries was the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism these treaties contain. Now the European Commission has proposed to set up a Multilateral Investment Court. Is that good news?
News / 14 October 2016
5 alternative arguments against TTIP
Both ENDS will join the protest against trade treaties TTIP, CETA and TiSA on Saturday October 22nd in Amsterdam. These treaties will have negative impacts, not only in the Netherlands and Europe, but also - and maybe even more so - in developing countries.
Publication / 7 July 2022
Event / 22 February 2022, 16:00 - 17:30
Webinar and launch of new publication about EU-Mercosur
What is the EU-Mercosur association treaty and why is it controversial? What could be the implications of the treaty for people and their livelihoods both in EU and Mercosur countries? For more information about these and other issues, see our new publication and join our interactive webinar next week!
Publication / 12 April 2022
Publication / 4 April 2019
News / 19 June 2018
NGO's send letter to Minister Kaag to call for termination of BIT with Burkina Faso
Today, Both ENDS sent a letter, signed by various civil society organisations, to Sigrid Kaag (Dutch Minister of Aid & Trade) reminding her of an important deadline and to urge her to terminate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that exists between the Netherlands and Burkina Faso. The treaty, which can be very harmful for a poor country such as Burkina Faso, will automatically be renewed for the next 15 years if it is not terminated before July 1st this year.
Publication / 19 September 2016
Publication / 29 November 2021
Event / 7 December 2021, 14:00 - 15:15
WEBINAR: EU's push for strong Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on seeds
The European Union's (EU) foreign trade policy has many implications for the sustainability of food systems in developing countries, heavily impacting farmers, breeders, and citizens. The unhidden promotion by the EU of strong intellectual property rights on plants affects food systems from its very basis, i.e., the seeds that are available for farmers to grow. Amongst these intellectual property rights, the main instrument that is advocated by European authorities is the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, which provides exclusive rights to breeders over the propagating material of new plant varieties, while diminishing the rights of others to use the material for further breeding and hampering with the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.
News / 9 June 2022
Burghard Ilge and Fernando Hernandez: "This WTO conference will be more important than ever"
This week, Geneva will be the epicenter of world trade, as trade ministers and other representatives from around the world gather for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference. Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is present with a delegation. Our colleague Burghard Ilge is joining as an official member of the delegation, to represent civil society organisations. Colleague Fernando Hernandez will also travel to Geneva, to follow and try to influence the negotiations from outside the conference room together with other civil society organisations from around the world.
Rights for People, Rules for Corporations – Stop ISDS!
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ clauses that are included in many such treaties.