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What a way to make a living: using industrial policy to create more and better jobs

Added 07 Apr 2016
TTIP-style trade deals could undermine workers’ rights and force people in poor countries into low pay, low skill jobs, according to a new report from ActionAid.

One in three young people in the world is either unemployed or working yet living in poverty. The situation could get worse as trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Free Trade Agreements with the EU make it ever more difficult for governments to support new industries that generate well-paid jobs.

In Vietnam these trade deals will undermine the better paying and higher skilled manufacturing sector, forcing workers into the low skill, low pay garment and footwear sectors.

Like TTIP, these deals will allow investors to sue the Vietnamese government for changing the law in a way that has an impact on investors' expected profits.

The consequences could be worst for women as the evidence from Bangladesh shows young women in the garment sector are often forced into jobs with non-liveable wages and substandard working conditions.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will cover as much as 40 per cent of the world economy, including the US, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The TPP and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement are up for ratification by parliaments in the next year.

The ‘What a way to make a living’ report shows how these deals are likely to lead to a major shift in Vietnam's economy, away from producing machines and motorbikes and towards mass production of cheap clothes and shoes.
ActionAid is calling on richer countries to review their trade deals with poorer to ensure they are not limiting their ability to develop high skilled manufacturing industries.

To read the full report, click here or on the download button.