Who benefits from trade agreements?

Imagine an economy that contributes to a fair and sustainable world, rather than pollution and serious inequality, an economy in which people and the environment are central, rather than money and growth. An economy in which there is enough for everyone.

The issue: The disposable economy

Every year we use, pollute and destroy more than the earth can bear. Many companies produce as cheaply as possible in order to make as much profit as possible. The consequences are that many items are used only once, need to be replaced quickly and cause high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. At this rate we will exhaust our planet in the not-so-distant future.
But also, the people who make our products feel the negative consequences of manufacturing as cheaply as possible. They are poorly paid, work in unsafe and dirty factories, and work  days that are far too long.

Unfair trade agreements

Trade agreements (like TTIP and CETA) will make international trade easier and cheaper. Unfortunately, that also goes for the trade in products we actually want less of, including dirty oil, meat processed in huge factory farms and palm oil for which tropical rainforests have been cut down.

These agreements also give companies the right to sue countries in special courts if they feel they have been treated unfairly. But if the companies themselves do something wrong, it’s very difficult for the victims to sue them.

It can and must change

This must change. We want to ensure that the trade agreements countries sign onto actually contribute to a sustainable world and lead to a more liveable future.
Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) is committed to a world in which Dutch companies can be held accountable for causing environmental pollution and having an overall negative effect on climate issues. This can be done, for example, by inserting binding conditions into trade agreements or by them agreeing to rules established by the United Nations. This will ensure that companies comply with international human rights and environmental laws.

Want to know more?

Contact our spokesperson Freek Bersch -
Are you a journalist? Get in touch with our press officer Lowie Kok -

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