Rethink Trade

Rethink Trade fights for good jobs, a healthy environment, safe and affordable medicines and food and goods, robust and fair markets where small businesses can thrive and the fundamental power for those who will live with the results to decide the policies affecting their lives. That is 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 Statement on New COVID WTO Text:

“[This text] represents the lowest common denominator of EU fealty to Big Pharma by not waiving intellectual property monopolies and the U.S. insistence that only vaccines be considered despite the new lifesaving treatments that President Biden spotlights as critical to dealing with COVID,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Rethink Trade at the American Economic Liberties Project. Read full analysis.

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

COVID WTO IP Waiver & Vaccine Access

We can end the pandemic. But we will face an endless cycle of new variants unless global production capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostic tests and treatments is greatly expanded. Future mutations could be more lethal. A few 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. Millions lost their lives and livelihoods because they could not get vaccines that governments paid pharmaceutical firms billions to develop and distribute. We demand an emergency waiver of WTO’s intellectual property barriers and global efforts scaled up and funded.

Big Tech & the "Digital Trade" Sneak Attack

Big Tech is trying to use trade negotiations and policies as a Trojan horse to undermine government policies against online platform abuses of workers and consumers. To obscure this, they have misbranded their attack against the very notion of digital governance as “e-commerce” or “digital trade” policy. But this “digital trade” offensive in fact is just a stealthy new front in the ongoing power struggle between a relatively few digital mega-platforms versus national governments and all of us. Big Tech’s goal is to tie the hands of Congress and U.S. agencies before they can act while trying to roll back the best gig worker and privacy protections, anti-monoply 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 a few countries and companies. This model has hollowed out US manufacturing capacity and leaving the US 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: Drugs, COVID, the WTO and a Leaked Text

In this episode, Lori talks with two trailblazing attorneys: Fatima Hassan at Cape Town’s Health Justice Initiative, South Africa and Sangeeta Shashikant with the global Third World Network. They discuss why after 18 months, there still is no deal to waive the WTO intellectual property rules blocking global access to COVID vaccines, treatments and tests. And the dire threats posed here and there by less than 20% of people in developing countries being vaccinated. And if you were confused by news that a deal to fix this WTO mess was reached, we’ll help make sense of that too. What *really* happened is a story of attempted steamroller tactics being stopped by people power. Plus, they discuss what’s next in the fight to end the pandemic.