IndustriAll Europe does not believe in “new protectionism” as in the long run it will come with serious economic costs. Indeed, closing our borders also means that others will do the same and at the end of the day, everyone will be worse off as a result of trade wars. Protectionism has never had lasting success and it often led to disastrous outcomes (Let us never forget the Great Depression of the Thirties). IndustriAll Europe would rather to construct bridges to support our economies, not build new walls.
To avoid globalisation leading to a global race to the bottom, and putting our social model at risk, it must be based on values and rules that are fair, enforceable and rewarding for all.
In this respect industriAll Europe welcomes the fact that with its Reflection Paper on Harnessing Globalisation, the European Commission is finally starting to address these developments that trade unions have been warning about for years.
As the EU is currently involved in negotiating numerous trade agreements (Japan, Mercosur, Mexico, India, Tunisia, Philippines, Indonesia, an investment agreement with China, probably also Australia and New Zealand), industriAll Europe has developed a number of criteria to be respected in order to ensure that these trade deals reflect the principles of fair trade, regulate globalisation and create a global level playing field. Trade agreements should not only create business for multinational companies, they must above all also benefit ordinary people. They have to ensure that the imported goods we consume are made by people who are not exploited, receive fair compensation, work in safe environments and are employed by companies that respect global codes of conduct.