ActionAid flags TTIP-style deals as skewed

14 Mar '16
3 min read

Trade deals such as the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could undermine workers rights and force people in poor countries into low pay low skill jobs across different sectors including garment, ActionAid has said in a new report.

The NGO has asked rich countries and trade blocs like the EU to review such deals to ensure poor countries can create decent well-paid jobs.

According to the report titled 'What A Way To Make A Living', one in three young people in the world is either unemployed or working yet living in poverty. The situation could get worse as trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Free Trade Agreements with the EU make it ever more difficult for governments to support new industries that generate well-paid jobs.

In Vietnam these trade deals will undermine the better paying and higher skilled manufacturing sector, forcing workers into the low skill low pay garment and footwear sectors.

Like TTIP, these deals will allow investors to sue the Vietnamese government for changing the law in a way that has an impact on investors' expected profits.

The consequences could be worst for women as the evidence from Bangladesh shows young women in the garment sector are often forced into jobs with non-liveable wages and substandard working conditions.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will cover as much as 40 per cent of the world economy, including the US, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The TPP and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement are up for ratification by parliaments in the next year.

The report shows how these deals are likely to lead to a major shift in Vietnam's economy, away from producing machines and motorbikes and towards mass production of cheap clothes and shoes.

ActionAid has called on richer countries to review their trade deals with poorer countries to ensure they are not limiting their ability to develop high skilled manufacturing industries.

Ruth Kelly, ActionAid Policy Manager, said, “Restrictive trade deals and unfair global rules are pushing people in poorer countries into low paid jobs and undermining workers rights. Trade and new businesses can offer a sustainable route out of poverty but governments are being prevented from supporting companies in new, profitable sectors like electronics and engineering. That's bad for economic growth and bad for the fight against poverty.

“Rich countries and trade blocs like the EU should review these deals to ensure poor countries can use economic policy to drive equitable growth and create decent well-paid jobs. The international community should also ensure global rules give as much protection to workers as they do to investors.” (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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