BERLIN (Reuters) - Free trade agreements have to do more than just cut tariffs, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told trade unionists on Wednesday, adding that environmental, consumer protection and dispute resolution standards were also essential.
“A modern trade agreement has to be about more than cutting tariffs,” she told the Labour 20 conference of international trade unions. “It should also be about environmental and consumer standards and should have transparent conflict resolution mechanisms.”
She warned that protectionism risked “hurting everyone” in a world in which 450 million jobs were dependent on global supply chains.
“They begin with natural resource extraction and then pass through many hands in different countries before coming finally to a sellable product. Whoever blocks or hinders these chains hurts everyone,” she said.
Reporting By Thomas Escritt