Free trade and economic inequality

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

The EU is in the process of negotiating a number of free trade deals. The two largest deals are the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (signed September 2014, but not yet ratified), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States.

Although free trade is often promoted with promises of increased prosperity, QCEA questions whether the increased wealth predicted will come to ordinary citizens or to multinational corporations. The inclusion in both deals of an investor-state dispute mechanism, by which corporations will be able to sue nations and thereby affect the legislative freedom of democratically elected governments, is of particular concern.

QCEA is also concerned that our economic development should counter the trend of growing economic inequality within countries, and that our economy keeps within the planetary boundaries. For work on de-coupling the economy from natural resources and on the circular economy, see our programme theme sustainability.

Links to QCEA publications

Background paper: what is TTIP
A sunset clause for TTIP
QCEA consultation response on ISDS
ISDS: what it is and why we should be concerned (joint publication – see here for other languages)
QCEA blogs on TTIP