Rethink Trade

Rethink Trade fights for good jobs, a healthy environment, robust and fair markets where small businesses can thrive and safe and affordable medicine, food and goods. And we believe those who will live with the results must decide the policies affecting their lives. That’s why we work to replace the current “trade” rules that were formed by and for the world’s largest corporate powers with damaging results for most people and the planet.

Rethink Trade Condemns WTO Failure to Waive IP Barriers Blocking Global Access to COVID Vaccines, Treatments, Tests:

“Two years, 15 million dead and 100 countries supporting a waiver, yet scandalously the WTO could not even get its intellectual property barriers out of the way so people worldwide can get the best COVID vaccines and treatments needed to save lives and ensure a more deadly variant does not emerge,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Rethink Trade at the American Economic Liberties Project. Read full statement.

The Latest

“China” Bill Trade War: House Boosts US Workers, Producers & Resilience, Senate Deepens the Hole

President Biden’s State of the Union speech was smart and refreshing in its focus on economic policies aimed at workers to “build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out together” and policies, like bolstering Buy American procurement, to increase economic resilience and create good jobs. But with the word “trade” missing from the speech, it also did not spotlight the big vote on the horizon.

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Our Work

Big Pharma Monopolies Kill Access to COVID Meds

Unless global production capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic tests and treatments is greatly expanded, we will face an endless cycle of new variants. Some could be more lethal. Pharmaceutical corporations have used intellectual property monopolies imposed by the World Trade Organization and other “trade” pacts to limit how much and where COVID-19 medicines can be made. Two years into a pandemic and 15 million dead, at a June 2022 summit, the WTO failed to waive its IP barriers undermining global access to lifesaving COVID medicines. In response 300 health, labor and other organizations demanded countries take direct action to save lives. The fight for global access to COVID meds continues!

Big Tech & the "Digital Trade" Sneak Attack

Big Tech is trying to hijack trade negotiations to lock in their monopoly powers and stop government efforts to end abuses of workers, consumers and smaller businesses. Big Tech is misbranding their attack against necessary government regulations as new “e-commerce” or “digital trade” policies and agreements. But this “digital trade” attack is just a stealthy new front in the ongoing power struggle between a relatively few digital mega-platforms versus governments and all of us. Big Tech’s goal is to tie the hands of Congress and U.S. agencies before they can protect us from Big Tech abuses while trying to roll back the best gig worker and privacy protections, anti-monopoly and anti-discrimination rules worldwide.

Hyperglobalization vs. Supply Chains

Decades of hyperglobalization as implemented by corporate-rigged “free trade” policies have concentrated the production of essential goods in too few countries and companies. This model has hollowed out U.S. manufacturing capacity and left the U.S. overly dependent on long, brittle supply chains for essential goods. This exposes us to economic, public health and national security vulnerabilities. We must replace the failed hyperglobalization model with  pro-worker, pro-equity, pro-community, pro-environment rules for the economy to promote reliable and resilient supply chains, domestic economic security and infrastructure, climate, public health and other goals.

Revised NAFTA &
Workers’ Rights

Corporate-rigged trade agreements have promoted the outsourcing of jobs to countries where wages are low and workers have no rights. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its many Free Trade Agreement (FTA) clones include foreign investor rights that make it safe and easy to relocate jobs. But these pacts have no enforceable labor or environmental conditions on the products that are sent back for sale here duty-free. The U.S. government certified more than one million Americans lost their jobs to NAFTA. In 2020, Congress voted to update NAFTA with better labor standards and enforcement. Much more remains to be done to fix the old trade agreement model. But, we can test if the labor terms can make a difference for workers here and in Mexico.

IPEF & APEP: Biden
Trade Proposals

President Biden pledged to create a new “worker centered” trade agreement model. This is not only smart policy, but politically necessary. Decades of corporate-rigged trade pacts caused such significant harm to people and the planet that the last such deal, the TPP, couldn’t garner a majority in Congress during the Obama administration — proving the old trade model is no longer politically viable. The Biden administration proposes negotiations for an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework  (IPEF) and an Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP). If talks start, will they promote or undermine goals people nationwide demand like ending Big Tech abuses against workers, consumers and smaller businesses, cutting medicine prices, fixing broken supply chains, and more. 

Hyperglobalization vs. Supply Chains

Decades of hyperglobalization as implemented by corporate-rigged “free trade” policies have concentrated the production of essential goods in too few countries and companies. This model has hollowed out U.S. manufacturing capacity and left the U.S. overly dependent on long, brittle supply chains for essential goods. This exposes us to economic, public health and national security vulnerabilities. We must replace the failed hyperglobalization model with  pro-worker, pro-equity, pro-community, pro-environment rules for the economy to promote reliable and resilient supply chains, domestic economic security and infrastructure, climate, public health and other goals.

Rethinking Trade Podcast

with Lori Wallach

About the Podcast

Welcome to Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach, where we unpack “trade” policy, law and politics and how it affects your daily life more than you think. Much of what is labeled trade today is not about actual trade stuff, like tariffs or quotas. We’ll reveal how Big Tech, Big Pharma, Wall Street et al. use the trade brand to rig the rules against working people, consumers, small businesses and farmers and consolidate monopoly control, outsource jobs and undermine food safety and our environment. We’ll debunk myths used to sell the corporate-managed trade agenda, which also has done major damage in the developing world. And, we’ll share alternatives we support.

 

NEW EPISODE: Shady COVID Deal: WTO’s
Midnight Scandal

After two years of pandemic and 15 million dead, how did the first big global WTO summit end with WTO intellectual property barriers still blocking global access to COVID meds? This episode exposes how a sham text gavelled through in the middle of the night and produced a worse-than-nothing outcome only Big Pharma can love. How could this happen given more than 100 WTO countries wanted a real fix?

On this episode of Rethinking Trade with Lori Wallach we bring back two activist lawyers we heard from earlier in the fight: Fatima Hassan at Cape Town’s Health Justice Initiative, South Africa and Sangeeta Shashikant with the global Third World Network. Together, they’ll walk through what happened, how we’ve been collectively gaslighted, and the current state of affairs. The fight for global access to COVID meds continues!