Indian National Green Party


National Policy-Global Trading and Investment Relations

4.1 Principles
4.1.1 Objectives
The Indian National Green Party support a policy of managed international trade and foreign investment based on the general recognition that nation states have a right and a duty to ensure that their consumption and production, including both imports and exports, is sustainable.
These principles, which are fundamentally different to the those of the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), require that international trade and foreign investment support the following objectives:
a) protecting local employment and labour conditions;
b) reducing economic and political vulnerability;
c) endouraging diversification of industry;
d) permitting the development of local technologies; and
e) protecting the environment.

4.1.2 Benefits of Trade
The Indian National Green Party recognise that foreign trade and investment are beneficial in terms of:
a) transferring skills and technology not normally available in an economy;
b) allowing the importation of strategic goods and services;
c) encouraging innovation and the adoption of new practices and higher standards;
d) encouraging efficiency through the adoption of ‘international best practice’ and the importation of technology which makes the local production of new goods and services possible; and
e) giving developing countries in particular, fair opportunity to trade with developed countries.

4.1.3 Problems with Trade
The Indian National Green Party, however, are wary of the possible negative influences of poorly regulated foreign trade and investment such as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which may include:
a) loss of national economic sovereignty, particularly with regard to employment, taxation, inflation, tariff and wages policy;
b) a reluctance by nations to take unilateral environmental initiatives for fear that they might unduly erode a nation’s economic competitiveness;
c) making an economy less diverse and more vulnerable through encouraging it to specialise in those industries in which it has competitive export advantage while abandoning those industries that cannot compete against foreign imports;
d) erosion of local culture in the face of imports that have a strong cultural element such as films, electronic media, music and food;
e) forcing countries to adopt environmentally unsustainable or socially unjust practices which damage the global commons in order to be able to earn foreign exchange;
f) forcing many countries, including India, into ever-increasing foreign debt leading to spiralling overseas interest payments;
g) inducing a global increase in transport use which is both inefficient and destructive to the environment;
h) allowing transnational corporations to increasingly dominate global trade and investment which in many cases is anti-competitive; and
i) leaving many developing countries at the mercy of IMF and World Bank required restructuring, often resulting in social polarisation.
The Indian National Green Party support international trading systems and associated institutions in which nation states work to maximise global equity and ecological sustainability. The Indian National Green Party also encourage exchange which will enhance the development of economies and societies that are ecologically sustainable, diverse, self-reliant, and therefore less vulnerable to external political and economic pressure.

4.2 Goals
The Indian National Green Party recognise that trade and investment issues must often be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Given the diversity of social and environmental costs and benefits that can apply to each trade and investment issue, and recognising the risks and benefits of foreign trade and investment, the Indian National Green Party will pursue policies to achieve the following goals:
a) to limit trade in goods and services that are produced by methods that are environmentally unsustainable or socially unjust;
b) to promote trade associations and participate in international trading systems in order to enhance the achievement of this goal;
c) to increase India’s self-reliance by limiting net foreign debt and current account deficits; and
d) to promote the regulation of transnational corporations.
The achievement of these goals will be facilitated not only through international trade policy but also by supporting the following short term targets.

4.3 Short Term Targets
4.3.1 International Context
International trade and investment can be positive in terms of countries benefiting from the initiatives and lower production costs of other countries and generally promoting greater global cooperation, but they can be negative in terms of fostering economic vulnerability and consuming a large amount of global transport and communications energy. Countries like India should never be isolationist in their global trade and investment policies and should always be prepared to negotiate at international forums. But countries like ours should not negotiate from a position of weakness; they should not be so dependent on the global economy that they will take whatever terms are offered. Instead they should negotiate from a position of strength where, if needs be, they can be economically self-reliant. The Indian National Green Party believe that international trade and investment should always be transparent and fully accountable and should not be controlled by trading blocks.
The Indian National Green Party also believe that international trade and investment should generally be carried on within a global environmental imperative to make the consumption of resources sustainable. Trade liberalisation should never be allowed at the expense of the environment.

4.3.2 Fair Trade and Reform of the WTO
The Indian National Green Party support reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Labour Organisation to ensure:
a) full recognition of the overriding necessity of environmental and social agreements;
b) the modification of multilateral trading agreements to allow nation states to impose internationally acceptable environmental and social practices;
c) the promotion of moves at the WTO and other relevant organisations which increase the food security of poorer countries and help them stabilise and improve prices for their commodities;
d) the support of poor countries for growing their own food as a priority over growing tobacco and other products for export to industrial countries;
e) trade agreements on Intellectual Property Rights that support the right of developing countries to acquire the technology they need at a cost they can afford and receive fair remuneration for the genetic resources found in their territory or developed or conserved by their people;
f) a revision of WTO processes and procedures to ensure transparency and include participation by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other representatives of civil society;
g) the encouragement of the use of counter-trade in the form of swap arrangements between two or more countries that do not have sufficient foreign exchange to pay for imports; and
h) the development of preferential trading status based on principles of ecological sustainability and social justice and aid.
The Indian National Green Party will also support:
a) a comprehensive ban on the movement of hazardous waste (including nuclear waste) and hazardous waste recyclables;
b) the development and transfer of technologies needed to achieve this; and
c) a review of agriculture subsidies in developed countries, in terms of their adverse social and environmental impacts on other developed and also developing nations.

4.3.3 Transnational Corporations
Transnational corporations now control about two-thirds of all international trade and most international investment and with the introduction of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment their power domination would further increase. They have become a powerful force in the world economy, and often play one country off against another to secure maximum financial advantage.

The Indian National Green Party will:
a) promote the regulation of transnational corporations in terms of environmental impact and sustainability, social impact, labour relations and democratic participation;
b) promote the import of only those goods from developing countries that satisfy basic criteria of decent wages, working conditions, sufficient food supply and environmental sustainability in the country of origin;
c) support the prohibition of the import of goods that are produced through the exploitation of children and;
d) investigate means through which both the Government and the United Nations can improve the business practice of transnational corporations including regulation through anti-monopoly legislation in India;

4.3.4 National Context

The Indian National Green Party believe that the current liassez-faire attitude to international currency transactions needs to be reformed and that the government has a role in limiting national foreign debt for having a better image of India. Researches should be conducted with the help of universities as well as institutions of national importance for having a national policy of development without taking international loan with a view to reducing the foreign debt. The Indian National Green Party will institute an inquiry into the means available to achieve a regulated limitation of the national foreign debt which may include the following :

a) tigther control by the Government of India, including the establishment of an independent regulatory authority that would scrutinise all foreign investments with a clear mind for essessing such investments and their different types of consequences;
b) the introduction of import taxes and customs duties; and
c) work to be done at the international level to achieve reform of the financial system;.