WFTC Platform on Fair Trade
As citizens, residents, organizations and elected officials of Washington state, we support policies that promote fair trade, equitable economic development and the greater public good. To this end, we support trade agreements that meet the following standards:
- Enforceable environmental, labor, health, and human rights standards
Trade agreements must include provisions that encourage and protect strong labor and environmental practices, including the core labor standards of the International Labor Organization. These provisions must be subject to the same enforcement as that for commercial provisions. Trade agreements should not supersede rights and obligations granted under multilateral environmental, labor, health, and human rights agreements solely to boost trade, but instead should act as a means to further reinforce and strengthen these rights and obligations. Trade agreements must respect the rights of immigrants and include policies that provide pathways to citizenship and defend immigrants’ rights at the workplace.
- No promotion of outsourcing/offshoring
Trade agreements must not be structured to give investors incentives to move jobs and factories offshore through special tax breaks, exemptions, subsidies, investment guarantees, or other exceptional provisions.
- Responsible maintenance of public goods and services
Trade agreements must support governments’ right to maintain essential public services (e.g., health, education, water) and to regulate private sector services on behalf of their citizen’s welfare. Trade agreements must also preserve the right of federal, state, and local governments to maintain procurement policies that reflect public values, including green procurement, prevailing wage laws, and preferences for local labor, or small, minority- or women-owned businesses.
- Investment rules that uphold the public interest
Investors should not be granted special rights (such as those in NAFTA’s Chapter 11 or CAFTA’s Chapter 10) to challenge environmental, public health, and other regulations enacted by law for the public’s interest. Furthermore, dispute resolution should not be handled by secret tribunals, but instead through established state, national, and international legal systems. Where these legal systems are weak, trade agreements should include provisions to strengthen, rather than bypass, them.
- Agriculture and food security
Trade agreements should support sustainable agricultural practices, and must not restrict governments’ ability to safeguard their food supply, rural development programs, and small farmers. Trade agreements must not prevent countries from developing necessary standards to prevent invasive species and preserve food safety. Trade agreements must respect the consumers’ right to know where and how food is produced.
- Balanced approach to patent interests
Trade agreements must reflect an appropriate balance between commercial patent interests and the legitimate public interest in ensuring access to life-saving medicines for HIV/AIDS and other critical diseases, in protecting biodiversity, and in protecting the traditional rights of farmers and indigenous peoples to utilize seed and other natural materials. Open-source software and similar public domain information sharing should be promoted, rather than restricted, by trade agreements.
- A commitment to development
Trade agreements must reflect a clear commitment to sustainable development, particularly for the world’s poorest countries. This should include the support of developing country initiatives that promote social and economic development and/or preserve the environment. Developing countries should further have the right to delineate critical sectors that will not be subject to straitjacket liberalization. Aid and assistance should be given to help manage any disruptive impacts of trade or market liberalization, and the benefits of market openings must be equitable for each trading partner.
- Democratic participation and state sovereignty
Trade negotiations and dispute resolution activities should be conducted in a democratic and open manner, allowing all stakeholders equal standing to participate. During trade negotiations, governments should provide public access to negotiating documents. State and local governments must be given an opportunity for prior consent on issues that affect their sovereignty. Within the agreement itself, there must be an open, transparent, and accessible dispute resolution system based on established state, national, and international legal systems.