Swedish trade unions’ policy on negotiations on a free trade agreement between EU and USA (TTIP)

The boards of LO, TCO and Saco have adopted a policy paper that aims to provide a brief background to the ongoing negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. It describes the starting points and the minimum demands of the Swedish trade union movement in order for us to maintain a positive view on the transatlantic agreement.

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The policy paper of LO, TCO and Saco, adopted by the boards of the organisations in January-February 2014,  aims to provide a brief background to the ongoing negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. It describes the starting points and the minimum demands of the Swedish trade union movement in order for us to maintain a positive view on the transatlantic agreement.

The main standpoints of  the Swedish trade unions

1. Trade unions in Sweden are in favour of free trade

Increased trade between the EU and the USA is good for the Swedish economy and for our members. Fair competition between two developed economies promotes necessary structural change and creates jobs in sustainable businesses.

2. Defend the rules on protection of workers

The negotiations involve many important areas, and a future agreement must not have any adverse effects on workers. Free trade and increased investments will stimulate innovation and efficiency. It must not lead to ruthless exploitation of people through competition on employment conditions.

3. Defend the political discretion

For the Swedish trade unions it goes without saying that the agreement must not affect the political room for manoeuvre when it comes to fundamental political issues.

4. Public procurement

The agreement must not restrict the political discretion on procurement on decisions regarding in what form an activity should be run or room for manoeuvre in procurements when it comes to setting requirements on what is to be procured and demands on e.g. labour and employment conditions.

5. No to Investor State Dispute Settlement – ISDS

Dispute settlement mechanisms between investors and states (ISDS) are found in many bilateral investment treaties, and provide an opportunity for an individual company to sue a country which it feels has violated the agreement.

TTIP is an agreement between two democratic states with developed economies and rule of law, which means that the arguments sometimes given for ISDS are not applicable here. Our view is consequently that the negotiations should aim not to include an investor state dispute settlement mechanism in the agreement.

Read the entire policy here