For decades, European trade policy has aimed to liberalise international trade, allowing
European companies to access foreign markets, raw materials and labour, leading to
deregulation often against the public interest and contributing to negative social and
environmental impacts both here and abroad. This form of unfettered economic globalisation
has deepened global inequality, concentrated wealth and brought the world to the brink of
climate catastrophe and natural resource depletion, making us vulnerable to global
pandemics such as COVID-19.
The current model of international trade is deeply unsustainable and must be transformed.
Instead of harming people and the planet, international trade and trade policy could play an
important role in avoiding climate breakdown if we align it with climate policies. To this end,
- Trade agreements must not contradict or restrict climate policies.
- Trade policy must become an instrument of climate policy and help to transform the
economy towards climate neutrality. This includes bringing the volume of traded
goods back to a level that respects planetary boundaries.
- Trade policy needs substantial reform, not greenwashing.