Making trade work for human rights and against inequality
European Parliament proposals to make trade fairer, so as to help prevent workers being exploited in the world’s poorest countries, will be debated on Monday and put to a vote on Tuesday.
As global trade patterns have changed markedly in recent decades and the unequal distribution of its benefits has come under growing public scrutiny, MEPs are proposing a series of measures to protect workers and the environment worldwide by reforming so-called “global value chains”.
They are set to advocate measures to boost corporate social responsibility, include enforceable chapters on labour and human rights in trade deals, protect whistle-blowers in forced labour cases and make the “social impact of production” visible on goods, e.g. by labelling, to raise consumer awareness.
Production processes that span several countries can enable new firms and employees to contribute, but may also complicate and obscure liability for products and accidents, note MEPs.
They argue that the EU must update its trade deals and policies help to prevent tragedies such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in in Bangladesh in 2013. Some 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, generating USD 150 billion a year in illegal profits (source: International Labour Organisation estimates).
Procedure: non-legislative resolution
Debate: Monday, 11 September
Vote: Tuesday, 12 September