In this joint position paper “Women’s rights and Trade: Time for a Radical Shift”, CONCORD, the European Confederation for Relief and Development that represents 2.600 NGOs in Europe, with WIDE+ reflect on the recent policy developments to promote women’s rights in EU’s trade policies. It is a step forwards that the European Commission has committed to a chapter or provisions on gender in the upcoming (modernization of the) trade agreement with Chile that is being negotiated and when finalized would serve as a model for other negotiations. This position paper concludes that it is not a sufficient measure to include gender articles that are most likely non-binding: much more needs to happen to make trade agreements respect women’s human rights.
The European Parliament (EP) has adopted in March of this year a resolution with many other proposals for action that the EU can and should fully implement. This joint paper makes the case for, firstly, gender provisions in trade agreements that are enforceable and binding, a measure the EP couldn’t (yet) agree to, but that was on the agenda for discussion.
As Civil Society we ask that this gender in trade is made binding and accountable. Furthermore, we call for a fundamental shift towards an EU trade policy that gives as much importance to human rights and environmental standards as to economic indicators -especially the questionable indicator of GDP growth. This implies that other measures within Trade and Investment Agreements, such as investment arrangements, reduction of available resources for gender-responsive public services and the risks/threats of privatization, need to be re-adjusted to make sure they respect and promote women’s rights.