Trade and investments

Alliance Sud is committed to preventing Switzerland's free trade and investment protection agreements from harming disadvantaged people in the South.

What it is about >

© Helvetas

Free trade agreements

© Martial Trezzini / Keystone

International trade policy

© Fastenaktion

Investment protection agreements

What it is about

Alliance Sud has attended all the ministerial conferences of the World Trade Organization since its inception in 1995, and has urged Switzerland not to work against the interests of developing countries. As these countries have become more powerful in this organisation and no longer accept being dictated by the rich countries, Switzerland has opted for a policy of concluding free trade agreements. In this way it secures more concessions than in the multilateral framework, especially in terms of strengthened intellectual property rights, which in turn endangers the rights to health and to seeds.

Besides, under the investment protection agreements concluded with developing countries, Switzerland largely favours the interests of Swiss multinationals, thus jeopardising the capacity of host countries to legislate in the public interest. These agreements contain a mechanism for dispute settlement by arbitration, which is strongly biased in favour of foreign investors.