Fair Trade

A Green government will be committed to the principle of fair trade.

A Green government will pursue with the WTO a level playing field in resource industries, especially agriculture, to rid the world of government subsidies to these industries, so that there can be true free trade relating to resource based products.

A Green government will work to strengthen the WTO so that it will be able to work effectively for all its members in the twenty-first century.

A Green government will begin the dialogue with all stakeholders as to the role of the WTO in the global economy and Canada’s interests and priorities in the WTO.

While the forestry industry is squarely within the purview of the provinces, the conduct of international trade is that of the federal government. A Green government will energetically pursue trading arrangements that will permit the forestry industry to sell forest products abroad without allowing that trade to be regulated by artificial tariffs and trading barriers or protectionist production quotas. In turn, the Canadian industry should be expected to ensure that production is maintained at sustainable rates, with due consideration of environmental protection issues, and, that greater emphasis be given to the finishing of raw product at the points of production.

A Green government will maintain its commitment to the international convention concerning trade in endangered species.

In future rounds of trade negotiations, a Green government will continue to pursue the elimination of trade distorting government export subsidies. The elimination of export subsidies must occur within clearly established time limits. Also, a clear definition of what constitutes an export subsidy must be established.

Ensure that before Canada negotiates any new trade and investment rules at the WTO or any other trade forum, binding and enforceable international rules are in place to protect human rights, core labor standards, cultural diversity, and the environment.

Ensure that culture, health care, education and other public services are exempt from international trade agreements, including the General Agreement on Trade in Services at the WTO.

Ensure that international environmental agreements based on the precautionary principle will take precedence over trade agreements.

Eliminate the investor-state dispute mechanism of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and exclude this measure from any future trade agreement.

Negotiate a clear exemption for water under NAFTA, the WTO and all trade agreements so that Canada regains the right to ban bulk water exports and the ability to preserve, protect and conserve Canadians’ fresh water resources.

Work with progressive legislators and activists in the three NAFTA countries to build a majority in favour of getting needed changes in NAFTA or failing that, replacing the Agreement altogether.

We propose a new operational tool for upgrading the quality of policy coordination between international organizations on issues in which the implementation of their mandates intersect and policies interact. Policy Coherence Initiatives should be launched by the relevant international organizations to develop more balanced policies for achieving a fair and inclusive globalization. The objective would be to progressively develop integrated policy proposals that appropriately balance economic, social, and environmental concerns on specific issues.

The first initiative should be to address the question of global growth, investment, and employment creation and involve relevant UN bodies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the WTO, and the ILO. Priority areas for other such initiatives include gender equality and the empowerment of women; education; health; food security; and human settlements.

There is wide international agreement on the essentials that we must all urgently strive for:

 good political governance based on a democratic political system, respect for human rights, the rule of law and social equity.

 an effective State that ensures high and stable economic growth provides public goods and social protection, raises the capabilities of people through universal access to education and other social services, and promotes gender equity.

a vibrant civil society empowered by freedom of association and expression that reflects and voices the full diversity of views and interests. Organizations representing public interests, the poor and other disadvantaged groups are also essential for ensuring participatory and socially just governance.

 strong representative organizations of workers and employers are essential for fruitful social dialogue.

The highest priority must be given to policies to meet the central aspiration of women and men for decent work; to raise the productivity of the informal economy and to integrate it into the economic mainstream; and to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises and economies. Policy must focus squarely on meeting peoples’ needs where they live and work. It is thus essential to nurture local communities through the devolution of power and resources and through strengthening local economic capabilities, cultural identity, and respecting the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.

Canada would also strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation as a major instrument for development and for a stronger voice in the governance of globalization. They should reinforce the social dimension of regional integration.

At the global level, global rules and policies on trade and finance must allow more space for policy autonomy in developing countries. This is essential for developing policies and institutional arrangements best suited to their level of development and specific circumstances.

Existing rules that unduly restrict their policy options for accelerating agricultural growth and industrialization and for maintaining financial and economic stability need to be reviewed. New rules must also respect this requirement.

The policies of international organizations and donor countries must also shift more decisively away from external conditionality to national ownership of policies.

Affirmative action provisions in favour of countries that do not have the same capabilities as those who developed earlier need to be strengthened.

Fair rules for trade and capital flows need to be complemented by fair rules for the cross-border movement of people. International migratory pressures have increased and problems such as trafficking in people and the exploitation of migrant workers have intensified. Steps have to be taken to build a multilateral framework that provides uniform and transparent rules for the cross-border movement of people and balances the interests of both migrants themselves and of countries of origin and destination. All countries stand to benefit from an orderly and managed process of international migration that can enhance global productivity and eliminate exploitative practices.

Global production systems have proliferated, generating the need for new rules on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and on competition. A balanced and development-friendly multilateral framework for FDI, negotiated in a generally accepted forum, will benefit all countries by promoting increased direct investment flows while limiting the problems of incentive competition which reduce the benefits from these flows. Such a framework should balance private, workers’ and public interests, as well as their rights and responsibilities.

Cooperation on cross-border competition policy will make global markets more transparent and competitive.

Core labor standards as defined by the ILO provide a minimum set of global rules for labor in the global economy and respect for them should be strengthened in all countries.

Stronger action is required to ensure respect for core labor standards in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and, more generally, in global production systems. All relevant international institutions should assume their part in promoting these standards and ensure that no aspect of their policies and programmes impedes implementation of these rights.

The multilateral trading system should substantially reduce unfair barriers to market access for goods in which developing countries have comparative advantage, especially textiles and garments and agricultural products. In doing so, the interests of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) should be safeguarded through special and differential treatment to nurture their export potential.

A minimum level of social protection for individuals and families needs to be accepted and undisputed as part of the socio-economic ‘floor’ of the global economy, including adjustment assistance to displaced workers.

Donors and financial institutions should contribute to the strengthening of social protection systems in developing countries.

A more balanced strategy for sustainable global growth and full employment, including an equitable sharing among countries of the responsibility for maintaining high levels of effective demand in the global economy, is essential. Enhanced coordination of macroeconomic policies among countries to this end is a key requirement. A successful global growth strategy will ease economic tensions among countries and make market access for developing countries easier to achieve.

Decent Work for all should be made a global goal and be pursued through coherent policies within the multilateral system. This would respond to a major political demand in all countries and demonstrate the capacity of the multilateral system to find creative solutions to this critical problem.

The international financial system should be made more supportive of sustainable global growth. Cross-border financial flows have grown massively but the system is unstable, prone to crises and largely bypasses poor and capital scarce countries.

Gains in the spheres of trade and FDI cannot be fully reaped unless the international financial system is reformed to achieve greater stability. In this context developing countries should be permitted to adopt a cautious and gradual approach to capital account liberalization and more socially sensitive sequencing of adjustment measures in response to crises.

A greater effort is required to mobilize more international resources to attain key global goals, particularly the MDGs. The 0.7 per cent target for ODA must be met and new sources for funding over and above this target should be actively explored and developed.

The implementation of reforms in international economic and social policy will require worldwide political support, the commitment of key global actors, and the strengthening of global institutions. The UN multilateral system constitutes the core of global governance and is uniquely equipped to spearhead the process of reform. For it to cope with the current and emerging challenges of globalization it has to enhance its effectiveness and improve the quality of its governance, especially with respect to democratic representation and decision-making, accountability to people, and policy coherence.

A Green government would reconsider their decision to maintain zero nominal growth in their mandated contributions to the UN system. It is essential that the international community agree to increase financial contributions to the multilateral system and reverse the trend towards raising voluntary contributions at the expense of mandatory ones.

A Green government would ensure that the policies pursued by Canada in the international foray are coherent and focus on the well being of people.

Parliamentary oversight of the multilateral system at the global level should be progressively expanded. This will be achieved through the creation of a Parliamentary Group concerned with the coherence and consistency between global economic, social and environmental policies, that should develop an integrated oversight of major international organizations.

A critical requirement for better global governance is that all organizations, including UN agencies, should become more accountable to the public at large for the policies they pursue.

A Green government would contribute to this process by regularly reviewing decisions taken by Canada’s representatives to these organizations.

Developing countries should have increased representation in the decision-making bodies of the Bretton Woods Institutions, while the working methods in the World Trade Organization (WTO) should provide for their full and effective participation in its negotiations.

Greater voice should be given to non-State actors, especially representative organizations of the poor.

The contributions of business, organized labor, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and of knowledge and advocacy networks to the social dimension of globalization should be strengthened.

Responsible media can play a central role in facilitating a movement towards a fairer and more inclusive globalization. Well-informed public opinion on the issues is essential to underpin change. Policies everywhere therefore need to emphasize the importance of diversity in information and communication flows.

We believe that broad-based dialogue especially on issues that are not currently being negotiated on the global agenda, is the essential first step in mobilizing action for change. It is of primary importance that such dialogue begins at the national level in order to construct the foundations of the necessary consensus and political will.