EU-UK trade should also ben­e­fit the poor­est

Financial Times USA - - LETTERS -

Sir, The FT’s Ed­i­to­rial Com­ment, “An eas­ier path for EU trade agree­ments” (May 17), sug­gests that in­vestor-state dis­pute mech­a­nisms are “more trou­ble than they are worth”.

One prob­lem with such mech­a­nisms is the trou­ble that they cause for the world’s poor­est com­mu­ni­ties.

In­ter­na­tional trade ar­bi­tra­tion has of­ten been used in ten­sion with na­tional de­vel­op­ment ob­jec­tives, pre­vent­ing de­vel­op­ing countries from im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies to re­duce poverty and pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

As Pope Francis says in his en­cycli­cal, Laudato Si’: “Busi­ness is a no­ble vo­ca­tion, di­rected to pro­duc­ing wealth and im­prov­ing our world.”

Trade that works for the UK and the EU can also ben­e­fit the poor­est peo­ple, pro­vided busi­nesses are not given tailor-made courts which en­able them to over­ride the interests and rights of such com­mu­ni­ties. Chris Bain Di­rec­tor, Catholic In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Char­ity (CAFOD), London SE1, UK

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