Rethink Trade

Today’s trade agreements and the hyperglobalization they implement promote corporate concentration and the supremacy of a few global monopoly players in each economic sector.

Economic Liberties’ Rethink Trade program will fight to replace existing and proposed trade pact rules that expand and lock in corporate power. It will challenge policies that obligate governments to guarantee protections and privileges for the largest global firms and their lobbying associations at the expense of workers, smaller and mainly domestic competitors, and their communities. And it will work to restructure the current trade regime, which constrains governments’ authority to break up Wall Street giants and other monopolists abusing consumers and smaller competitors and undermines independent farmers while privileging the handful of mega grain trading and meat packing firms that dominate food trade worldwide.

Breaking the monopolies that now corrupt our political processes, cause supply chain breaks and shortages and undermine peoples’ livelihoods and communities’ economic stability requires a new approach to “trade” rules. This is necessary both to avoid new constraints being imposed via trade pacts Trojan-horse-style, for instance now with respect to Big Tech’s “digital trade” agenda, which would make essential privacy, anti-monopoly, anti-discrimination and other digital governance policies forbidden “illegal trade barriers.” And it is necessary to remove existing trade-pact constraints on the use of common-sense policies to break monopoly control, such as Big Pharma’s deadly role in using its monopoly control of production to limit sufficient production of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.

With Rethink Trade, Economic Liberties will take on the unvirtuous feedback cycle between monopoly corporate power and domestic policies that promote it and international commercial negotiations that lock it in and expand it: Mega-corporations that have undue political influence in many countries are steering governments to use trade negotiations to impose the monopolists’ will globally to protect their power, which then constrain governments’ domestic policy space and helps the monopolists to expand their power and thus have even more political influence to further impose their will. Ending this unvirtuous feedback cycle is critical to the health of our democracy and economy.