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Trade and corporate accountability

The global trade and investment system is a critical space used by companies to set the terms of international business practice, where they are unburdened by binding rules on their obligation to respect human rights while enjoying disproportionate protection of expected profits. Regulating for corporate accountability requires policy coherence to guarantee respect for human rights in business, and a multi-faceted approach that addresses the drivers of structural rights abuses so that legal accountability, the development of new human rights due diligence legislation, and trade policy all work together towards the aim of the protection of human rights. In the arena of trade policy, any future positive potential of trade and investment agreements is undermined when the disproportionate power afforded to companies and lack of transparency in agreements leads to the violation of human rights and restriction of a state’s ability to regulate in the public interest. This blog series seeks to show how global trade policy intersects with efforts to realise corporate accountability and respect for rights. It will bring together experts who have led on long-standing interventions on trade justice and corporate accountability from a variety of perspectives including labour rights, gender and climate justice.

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